Onion prices touch record high in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh markets

While in Telangana the price is between Rs 85 and Rs 150 per kg, in AP the price has shot up to Rs 250 per kg.
Onion prices touch record high in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh markets
Onion prices touch record high in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh markets
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Onion prices have reached an all-time-high in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with the vegetable costing between Rs 85 and Rs 250 per kg. While in Hyderabad, pushcart vendors have been selling it for Rs 85 per kg, supermarkets have varied prices starting from Rs 135 and going upto Rs 150. In Andhra Pradesh meanwhile the prices have spiralled to Rs 250 per kg.

Vishnu, owner of Visnhu wholesale onion traders in Hyderabad, tells TNM that this is the highest that onion has ever cost in the past 30 years of his business. “In the past, I remember the prices shooting up to Rs 80 per kg. This year, rains played spoilsport and there is a shortage of onions across the country. After the hike in prices, we are now getting onions directly from farmers in Maharashtra and selling it in the market on their behalf. While earlier the farmers hardly got Rs 4-5 per kg of onion, now we are managing to get them between Rs 40 and Rs 100,” Vishnu says.

However, these are the farmers who were able to store the onions in proper dry facilities and did not suffer from crop loss during the unseasonal rainfall.

The major areas of onion cultivation in the Telugu states are Gadwal in Telangana and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. With prices soaring in AP, the state government is now supplying onions at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per kg, bringing some relief to the consumers.

In the wholesale onion markets in Telangana, onions are sold at Rs 40-Rs 100 per kg. According to the state’s marketing website, an average of 55 quintals of onions have come into the Gudimalkapur market in the month of December, sold for an average of Rs 2,000 per quintal. However, at the Mahaboob Mansion market, where around 4,000 quintals of onions arrive on a daily basis, the maximum a quintal can fetch goes up to Rs 11,000.

This means a farmer in Gudimalkapur can sell his onions for an average of Rs 20-30 per kg while in Mahaboob Mansion, one can fetch a price as high as Rs 100 for the same.

These are then sold in retail outlets after exchanging hands of at least 4-5 middlemen at almost 400% above the prices that the farmers fetch.

Speaking to TNM, GV Ramanjaneyulu from the Centre of Sustainable Agriculture says that the situation would continue until the next season of onion crops are reaped, and that both the state and the Union haven’t yet tried to address the issue at its root.

“India produces around 5 lakh tons of onions every year. Unseasonal rains lead to the failure of crops across the country. Farmers can’t do much about this. A few farmers were able to get better prices in Kurnool and Gadwal who could store the onions. Fifty percent of farmers lost their crops this time. Failure of crops becomes an issue when a consumer has to shell out Rs 100 more from his pocket. No one talks about the thousands of rupees that a farmer lost,” Ramanjaneyulu says.

Speaking about farmers in Telangana, Ramanjaneyulu notes how there is not even a single storage facility in the state. As a result, farmers sell their produce soon after it is harvested, which is bought in huge quantities by traders.

“The traders then dry and store it and release it into the market in smaller quantities, thus jacking up the prices. If our farmers have proper storage facilities, they can release the vegetables into the market not all at once and bargain for a better price whenever there is a shortage,” Ramanjaneyulu says, adding, “There is a lack of awareness among farmers too. Most of them flock to Gudimalkapur market where there is surplus onions because of which they aren’t able to fetch more than Rs 20 per kg for their produce. The government must try and provide better infrastructure for these farmers rather than just importing onions which would again lead to a fall in prices in the market.”

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