Nagpur: The ‘onion’ is such a vegetable commodity it never budges from bringing tears to the eyes of its consumers. It is so dangerous a thing that it can bring political upheavals to overthrow any governance, which it has done in the past. It is now soaring again to raise a question mark for the poor, “how to satiate the hunger even with mere ‘kanda and bhakar?’
A survey carried out by Nagpur Today about onion crisis, which is being sold out at the rate of Rs 50 a kg in retail In Mangalwari Bazar, Sadar, as on Friday, July 31, revealed that due to scanty rainfall during its sowing season and excessive rainfall during its blooming season, in other words due to the unfavourable climatic condition, export-import imbalance and trading-opportunism (by way of hoarding the stock to earn more) the onion is selling costly.
Onion traders, like Ramjilal and Mohd Yunus, Mangalwari Bazar, Sadar, did say that its wholesale price is between Rs 30 and Rs 40 per kg, but its retail is costlier because its less influx in Nagpur. They admitted that once the influx of onion was more, the prices would come down on the basis of demand and supply principle. It was also learnt from them, as the months like July to December are the months of festivals including just-gone a month-long Ramzan, the demand for onion would further grow more, and so its price might not come down for some time. They informed that such a situation had cropped up in year 2013 when the onion was sold out for Rs 80-90 per kg. The onion comes to Nagpur from Nasik and Dhule (Maharashtra) in bulk quantity, but its supply from there is regulated due to weak crops.
According to the traders in Kalmana Market (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee–APMC), the potato, which is all time companion of onion, in local parlance called ‘aloo-pyaj’ is cheaper just Rs 12-15 per kg because of its over supply from Uttar Pradesh. The potato comes to Nagpur from Chhindawara mainly, which just 136 kms away and situated in Madhya Pradesh.
It was also revealed that the onion-growers had their own predicament of suffering loss in yielding of onions, and they would never like to sell their produce at lower rate to ‘dalals’ or wholesalers.
The Kalmana based onion-traders were of the opinion that there was hope of some onion supply from southern India, Karnataka and Telangana as well as Andhra, though the crop in those states was also hit by weather, but the price might not get reduced much, for the Nagpurians would not like the quality (size being small and taste different) of those onion. However, the south Indians residing in Nagpur like the taste of southern Indian onion, opined Jameel, owner of Taj Onion Traders, Tajabad, addding that for Muslim any kind of onion will do.
The onion traders in general however said, unless the new stock of onions comes from Nasik and Dhule the common man will have to face the crisis which may be over before Diwali, winter season.
While all other types of vegetables are available at moderate rates in the market, the onions have become a problem for the poor class and labour-class bread-earners.