Chinese onions expected to bring down prices

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 8, 2015-

Traders have started bringing Chinese onions as prices of Indian onions have skyrocketed, putting them out of reach of many consumers. Shipments from the northern neighbour are expected to bring down market prices to some extent.

Onion prices have doubled over the past month due to rising costs in India as a fall in output has led to shortages this year. Onions cost Rs97 per kg in Kalimati, one of the largest wholesale vegetables markets in the valley. In India, the price of onion hovers between IRs50-60 per kg. Local vendors

are selling onions at Rs115 to Rs120 per kg.

According to traders, 20 containers each containing 28 tonnes of Chinese onions have arrived at Kolkata port, but they have not been able to bring them to Nepal due to the Tarai banda that has crippled transportation.

“But we are trying to bring them under police escort. Let’s hope thy will arrive within a week or 10 days, and consumers will get relief to some extent,” said Dipendra Shrestha, an onion wholesaler at the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Wholesale Market.

Although Chinese onions are not very popular among consumers, traders said that they would help to bring down prices in the market. Nepal’s onion production is close to zilch, and it imports 95 percent of its requirement from India. During the four-month period from mid-May to mid-August, the Kalimati market received 7,600.984 tonnes of onions from India, according to the data maintained by the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board.

During the period, 20,398 kg of onions were shipped from Kavre, Nuwakot and Parsa districts. Traders said that onion sales had dropped in recent days as many low-income customers stopped buying them due to their high prices. Small hotels and restaurants also stopped serving complimentary onions with their main dishes.

Sonu Shrivastav, a wholesaler at the Balkhu Agriculture, Fruits and Vegetables Market, said, “As the price of onion has soared beyond the reach of households with low incomes, there is low demand from retailers and households these days. We have decided to slash prices following the mismatch between demand and supply.”

Shrivastav added that onion prices were expected to drop in the coming days as they had started importing Egyptian onions. Indian media reported that the shipment would bring both wholesale and retail prices down, and force domestic hoarders and farmers to release their stocks at comparative rates.

Published: 08-09-2015 09:05

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