Rajya Sabha has raised condemning concerns over high prices and shortage of onions on Friday even as the government blamed delayed and prolonged rains for damage of crops. Engaging to boost onion supplies, the government mentioned that the state-run trading firm MMTC has been importing onions to check spiraling prices and the shipment is expected to arrive by January 20.
Various news sources have reported that onion
prices touched the height of Rs 165 per kg on Friday. In most cities, onion has
been selling above Rs 100 per kg in retail markets.
Minister of state for consumer affairs over this
“Late rains and prolonged rains damaged the onion crop... MMTC is importing from various countries and it is expected by January 20,” minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said.
Restaurants feel the pinch
Scores of small restaurants are also feeling the pinch as rising prices of onion is taking a hit on their business. While some restaurants are opting to pass on the burden to customers, many others are mulling over reducing the usage of onion until the situation stabilises.
Reasons for sudden onion prices surge
The sudden rise in the price of onion has been officially attributed to a decline in domestic production during kharif (harvested after October) and late-kharif (harvested in January- March) seasons because of late monsoon followed by excess rains in major producing states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka. The heavy unseasonal rainfall which lashed Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat in September also contributed to the price rise as it damaged the ready crop in these states.
solution according to officials
Every time onion prices soar, the standard response of the government is the imposition of a minimum export price (MEP), and resorting to imports. In the current crisis as well, similar steps have been taken. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has also directed the state governments to carry out immediate anti-hoarding operations to ensure that the supply in the markets are augmented and stock holding limits are strictly enforced.
Currently, the country is bearing the brunt of high onion price, which will remain firm till the first week of January when the late-kharif onion crop is expected to hit the market.