Onion price soars to Rs 115 per kg

KATHMANDU, Nov 26: Onion price has increased by Rs 30 to Rs 115 per kg on Friday. The retail price was hovering at around Rs 85 over the week. Sunday's market price of onion was Rs 78 per kg and the price increased to Rs 85 on Monday which remained constant until Friday, according to retail price chart of Kalimati Market Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board (KFVMDB).

The traders have blamed India's move to curb export of onion setting minimum prices of US $ 850 per ton behind the sharp rise in the essential vegetable product. India did so to control the price hike of 'politically sensitive product' in its market owing to fall in the production in the country.

“We are buying a kilo of onions at Rs 92 and selling them at the wholesale price of Rs 100. The prices in retails and other markets are up to Rs 120 per kilo,” said Raj Kumar Singh, a wholesaler at Kalimati vegetable market. “The prices are up due to the decrease in output in India due to floods in August,” said Singh. This time the price of onions has increased in India due to low production,” said Hemanta Lal Shrestha, a wholesaler in the market. He also pointed out the same reason behind the price hike. “Any moves taken by India on this product directly affects the price here in our market,” added Shrestha, who is one of the largest onion suppliers.

Traders estimate that the prices may see a further hike if India tightens export fully. “Nepali traders do not have any sort of role in the onion price hike,” said Shrestha. “The Indian supply of onions is less than the demand here,” said Hari Bhandari, another trader.  The wholesalers know the reason behind the sharp rise in the price of onions while the retailers in the market expressed they are unaware of the reasons.

“We do not know the exact reasons. The wholesalers told us that the price has increased here due to the price rise in India,” said Jenisha Gautam, a retailer in the Kalimati market. “We have bought onions at Rs 100 per kilo and have been selling at Rs 120 per kilo since the morning.”

The government of India issued the order of setting the minimum export price for until December end of this year after price of onions hit two years' high in the local market. The price of onions at Lasalgaon, India's largest wholesale onion market in the western state of Maharashtra, rose to IRs 32 rupees (NRs 51) per kilo last week.

This price hike is sure to increase spending in the kitchen by families on top of already high prices of other vegetables in the local market due to fall in the domestic production. Major vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower have seen an unprecedented price hike since Dashain. Nepal has not been able to produce onions though there is high potential, mainly due to the lack of storage facilities among other various reasons. Nepal had imported 120 million kilograms of onions worth Rs 3.26 billion in fiscal year 2015/16.

Source: Republica

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