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Mumbai's onion prices soar again

If purchasing onions have been burning a hole in your pocket lately, then the misery will only increase on Monday. Onions in the Agricultural Marketing and Produce Committee (APMC) hit a three-year high on Saturday touching Rs 45 per kilo. There were only 75 trucks of the commodity, which entered the Vashi market, and traders said that this quantity will hardly be enough for residents of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.

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Heavy rainfall over the past few days spoilt large quantities of produce . Pic/Dutta Kumbhar

As recently as August 8, the rate of onions per kilo ranged between Rs 28 to Rs 33. But on Saturday when the market opened after being shut for Eid on Friday, the price shot up to Rs 45. Ashok Walunj, director of the APMC onion potato market said farmers from Nashik and Pune had been so far sending the produce, which they had stored and kept since April.

“But the heavy rainfall during the past few days spoilt a large quantity of the stock,” said Walunj. Other wholesalers said another reason for the price hike could be the fact that farmers are getting a good price for their produce in markets closer to home and hence are hesitant to send a large quantity of their produce to Mumbai. Santosh Padekar, a wholesaler from APMC said the production of onions had not been very good this year on account of the drought that preceded the rains. “The produce was not sufficient and prices were expected to go up. Little relief can be expected till the new crop enters the market in September.”

Retail rates touch Rs 50 mark While in some markets, thanks to older stocks, the price of onions remained at Rs 40-45, at other markets it touched or crossed Rs 50. Retailers admitted however, that the real price rise would happen from Monday. Shyamji Gala, one of the wholesalers said. “Once today’s stock hits the retail market, customers will be affected.”

However, at the 109 subsidised vegetable centres in the city, onions sold for Rs 44 a kilo. Shankar Pingale, director of the APMC vegetable market, said retail prices had already reached Rs 50, but the government-supported centres were trying to keep the prices down.  

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