Price of onion shot up to a whopping ₹200 per kg in Bengaluru due to severe short supply in the market, an official said on Saturday.
"Onion price touched ₹200 per kg in some retail shops of Bengaluru, after its wholesale rate ranged between ₹5,500 and ₹14,000 per quintal," state agricultural marketing officer Siddagangaiah said.
As a result, the most common and staple vegetable was conspicuously missing from the menu in homes and restaurants across this tech hub.
In most cities, onion was quoting above ₹100/kg in the retail markets. Retail onion prices were ruling high at ₹165/kg in Panaji (Goa), ₹160/kg in Mayabunder (Andaman) and ₹150/kg in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Thrissure and Wayanad in Kerala.
Onion was sold at ₹140/kg in Kolkata, Chennai and some places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, ₹130/kg in Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack (Odisha), ₹120/kg in Gurgoan (Haryana) and Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), and ₹100/kg in most cities tracked by the ministry.
"There is no doubt onion prices are rising. The main reason for rise in price was damage to the onion crop due to rains. Much of onion has been damaged in Maharasthra, the key growing state. However, the government has supplied buffer stock and asked MMTC to import onions and it should arrive by January 20," Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.
The government has approved import of up to 1.2 lakh tonnes of onions to check the ongoing price rise. State-owned MMTC has been directed to import up to 1 lakh tonne onions through global and country-specific import tenders, he said.
Onion are highly perishable commodity that is prone to weight and moisture loss, quality deterioration, sprouting, losses in grading and separation, he added.
To boost supply and contain price rise, the government has contracted over 21,000 tonnes of imports through MMTC and the shipments are expected to arrive mid-January. The tender and fumigation norms have also been ease to facilitate early arrival of imported onions.
Among other measures, the government has already banned export of onion, imposed stock limits on traders and is also supplying buffer stock at a cheaper rate.
The country had last imported 1,987 tonnes of onion way back in 2015-16 when price has shot up significantly.
India has an annual onion requirement of 150 lakh metric tonnes, with Karnataka chipping in with onion production of 20.19 lakh metric tonnes. Almost 50 per cent of the onion production gets lost after factoring in crop loss and post-harvest loss, leaving only the balance to arrive in the market.
Heavy rains during the harvest also led to the rotting of a good share of the onion production.