If your vegetable vendor lures you to buy onions claiming that they are from Egypt ,besides offering them to you at dirt-cheap prices, then think twice. Though the onions are larger and spicier than the Indian variant, a recent batch that has come from overseas is already damaged.
On Saturday morning 4,400 bags, each carrying 25 kilos of the vegetable, entered the Agricultural and Produce Market Committee (APMC) onion potato market. Traders said that while packaging a 50-kilo bag of onions, they found at least two to three kilos were damaged.
Ashok Walunj, director of Vashi’s APMC market, explained that unlike Indian onions, which come from Nashik and Pune, the Egyptian ones are bigger and have a shorter life span. “Four containers of onions were ordered by Jafson Enterprises at MAFCO market in Navi Mumbai.
From there 4,400 bags of onions were sent to us today. However, as these onions came via sea in reefer containers now they are unable to match up to the outside temperature here. Also as this is a new crop, the onions are already wet. So they are more prone to damage,” said Walunj. On Saturday, these onions were selling anywhere between Rs 47-48 per kilo unlike our Indian onions which were selling at Rs 50-52 per kilo.
When asked whether the entry of these vegetables would help to reduce the current shortage of onions, Walunj said, “These onions are not finding many buyers. Retailers are still demanding Indian onions from wholesalers, as customers don’t prefer big onions. Also due to the current price hike, people want to use less quantity and are opting for smaller onions.” Amit Ladkar, a middleman, who purchases onions to sell to retailers said though housewives wouldn’t prefer Egyptian onions, they might be a hit with restaurants.
“Onions from Egypt have a stronger smell and are spicier as compared to Indian onions. As their size is big, customers may not prefer them. However, hotels may not mind spending for these kind of onions as they buy in bulk quantities,” said Ladkar. On Monday, more Egyptian onions are slated to enter the market. However, traders are expecting their prices to fall even more in the coming days.