When news broke that our traders had sent an SOS to their counterparts in Egypt for 60 tonnes of onion, the city waited with bated breath for prices of the kitchen essential to fall from their soaring height, making it more accessible to the common man (‘Onions: made in India’, September 14).
However, the recent arrival of the foreign produce and its entry into the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) market has failed to lower prices of the Nashik or Pune varieties. On Monday, rates of the Indian variety witnessed the steepest rise in the recent past, touching Rs 58 for a kilo at the wholesale market.
As it turns out, there are few takers for the African variety, keeping the demand for the local varieties at their usual high.
According to sources at the Vashi onion-potato market, four containers of Egyptian onions were imported by Jafson Enterprises in Navi Mumbai via Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), an order that was placed a month ago.
Initially, traders hoped that the entry of these onions would ease the shortage of the vegetable in the market. Ashok Walunj, director of APMC onion potato market said, “These Egyptian onions are not finding takers, as it is a new crop and is still wet. Besides, they don’t have good finishing. The large onions do not suit the palate of the Indians either. The imported onions are being sold at Rs 52 per kilo. The chief reason why the price of Indian onions is still soaring is that the demand is far greater than the supply.”
On Monday, only 65 trucks of onion were seen entering Vashi APMC – not sufficient for the population of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Raigad. Another trader from the market, Nitin Parakh, said that in the days to come, wholesale prices of onions are expected to rise even further. Even the new crop is not growing well, on account of continuous rainfall,” he complained.
Two to three kilos of damaged onions came from a 50-kilo bag of the Egyptian crop recently. On Monday morning, 350 bags of imported onions entered the market.