Just when we thought the swings in the onion prices were achieving some stability, huge fluctuations over the last three days have taken traders by surprise.
On Monday, the price at the wholesale market was between Rs 35-40 while on Thursday it touched Rs 45 again, translating to around Rs 60 for a kg at retail vendors. In fact barely 40 trucks and tempos entered the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) in Vashi yesterday. A lot of wholesalers said that the instability has left retailers so confused that they are not sure whether to pick up the produce for sale or wait for the prices to plunge again.
On Monday when the onion market opened at Rs 34-40 per kilo, there was a drop of around Rs 10 in prices from last Saturday, when the market hovered at Rs 40-48. Shyamji Gala, wholesaler at APMC, said that although the prices came down on Monday, the market picked up soon after. “Farmers are not sending their produce. After they started getting around Rs 45-50 per kilo, they have now become hesitant to send the commodity amid falling rates. Besides, there have been few purchases in the market,” said Gala.
The APMC was shut on Tuesday on account of Rakshabandhan and when the market opened up on Wednesday, the rates had gone up, taking everyone by surprise.
At the retail market, too, the situation was similar. On Monday and Tuesday, the price in the retail market came as low as Rs 35-40, depending on the quality and size of onions. Sunil Patil, a vendor from Santacruz where the price was around Rs 60 yesterday, said that less stocks were coming in. “One thing that we observed was that the quality of the commodity which came in on Tuesday was not very good,” he said.
A lot of traders said that it would be a fortnight before price stabilise. Ashok Walunj, director of APMC’s onion-potato market, said that the price of onions is highly unsteady. “The retailer who comes to purchase from us is left confused in the bargain. Hoping that the price would drop further tomorrow they are purchasing small quantities. They are hesitant about the fact whether the customer would buy the commodity from them at such high rates,” said Walunj.
Wholesale onion prices at APMC in the past week
Saturday: Rs 40-48
Monday: Rs 34-40
Tuesday: Closed for Rakhi
Wednesday: Rs 35-42
Thursday: Rs 40-45