With a price tag that has been hovering between Rs 50 and Rs 80 a kg for well over a month now, the onion can hardly be called a ‘humble vegetable’ any more. No wonder then that the city’s vegetable vendors are stocking onions not just from Nashik and Karnataka but from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and now -- China!
On Saturday 50 tonnes of onions from China entered the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) Market in Vashi via Jawaharlal Nehru Container Port (JNPT) and by the end of the day the trader who had purchased it had even sold half of the inventory to retailers.
According to APMC traders, the Chinese onions are being sold at the wholesale market at Rs 35 per kilo and will give tough competition to the new onions from Karnataka, which have started to enter Mumbai markets a week ago. Shivaji Dhembare, a trader from APMC who purchased the Chinese onions from the exporter, however, said the onions, much like the earlier ones from Egypt, had already become moist and would have to be sold fast.
“I managed to sell one entire container. Most of those who purchased were traders who supply these onions to hotels in the city. Retailers rarely come forward to buy export varieties, as daily customers prefer locally produced onions,” Dhembare said, adding that this could well be the last lot of exported onions, considering that onions from Nashik and Karnataka have started to enter the market in large quantities.
Meanwhile, the vegtable continued to be sold at between R40-50 per kilo in most retail markets. Tulsidas Chowdhary, a vegetable vendor from MAFCO retail market in Vashi said, “Chinese onions are not brought by retail customers. Besides, now new onions from Lasalgaon have started to come into the market and cost around Rs 40. In the days to come prices will go downfurther.”