The sudden increase in prices of basic commodities including onion, potato and tomato in the state within a week has upset the household budget of many. Among these, the worst affected are the onion prices that has shot up to 75 per cent from Rs 15-20 to Rs 30-35 per kg, within a week.
With the shortage of onion supply added with poor quality produce not fit for long duration storage and the prediction of below normal monsoon, this is expected to further escalate the prices in the coming weeks across the state.
The worst affected cities with high onion prices are Surat where it is the highest at a retail price of Rs 33-35 per kg, followed by Vadodara and Ahmedabad where retail vendors sell it at Rs 25-30 per kilogram. In Rajkot, it is sold in retail market at Rs 15 per kg.
Similar increase is witnessed in the wholesale prices of onion within a period of last 10 days. At Ahmedabad Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), it shot up from Rs 6-15 on June 9 to Rs 10-20 per kg on June 20.
Among reasons cited by traders and experts for this sudden increase in prices of onion is a shortfall in supply due to the unseasonal rainfall with hailstorm that was witnessed in Maharashtra a few months ago. This resulted in a damage to onion, potato and tomato produce.
“With nearly 80 per cent of the produce in Maharashtra that got damaged with unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm, there is a 25-30 per cent shortage in the stock received from farmers and traders. For instance, a farmer who was expected to have 500 packets of onion is left with only 100. Thus, shortage in supply is resulting in increase in prices,” said Kishore Paryani, wholesale vendor of onion at Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Vasna in Ahmedabad.
Further, the unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm in onion producing areas had also affected its quality. “The quality of onion that is coming this season is sub standard. This will certainly create a problem for hoteliers who require to store it in bulk,” said APMC Ahmedabad Secretary Dipak Patel.
The prices are expected to increase in the coming days. “During the rainy season, the supply of onion, potato and tomato will be affected as a result of which the prices would be doubled. The prices are expected to start increasing from July 15 onwards.” APMC Surat secretary Nilesh Thorat said.
However, it is not only the soaring prices of onion that have shaken the monthly budget of housewives, which is expected to further increase, but also the seasonal vegetables like capsicum, ridge gourd, sponge gourd, cluster beans and brinjal among others that otherwise had been easily affordable by all is getting out of reach.
The rates of seasonal vegetables in Ahmedabad is hovering between Rs 60-80 per kg while a few including choli and ridge gourd has even touched Rs 100 per kg. Similarly, ladyfinger, cluster beans and sponge gourd costs at Rs 80 per kg.