Poor quality onions push prices, and customers’ spirits down

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BANGALORE, September 22:  Is the offer of onions at Rs. 40 a kg alluring you to take your biggest shopping bag and splurge?

Think again! Even as the rates of onions seem to have dropped marginally, retailers and customers say the fall in prices is “artificial” as poor quality onion has made way in the market, forcing retailers to sell at a lower retail price.

In the last one week, according to retailers, even as the price of onions came down by Rs. 10 a kg, the price of onion in Bangalore on Sunday ranged from Rs. 25 to Rs. 60 a kg, and Hopcoms was selling good quality onions at Rs. 78 a kg as on Saturday.

The best quality onion, which is not easily available, was selling around Rs. 70. The inferior ones, which are either harvested early or have high water content resulting in short shelf life, are sold in the range of Rs. 30 to Rs. 45 a kg.

Pointing out that onions available in the market at low cost were of poor quality, Pushpa Ravindra, a customer, saw big onions at Rs. 55 per kg being sold at an outlet near Vijaynagar and decided to buy 3 kgs, as she thought the price of onions had fallen. “But when I went and cut the onions at home, I realised that the quality of onions were really bad.”

Karisiddappa of Sri Jenukal Siddeshwara Traders at the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), also said poor quality onions have entered the markets as the prices of onions had soared. He said over the past week the wholesale prices of onions dropped by Rs. 100 a quintal, which works out to a drop of Rs. 1 a kg.

No change
However, several retailers emphasise that there has been no change in onion prices. Kadire Gowda, managing director, HOPCOMS, said there were no major fluctuations in prices. “The price of big onion as on Saturday has been Rs. 78 per kg and medium and small has been Rs. 57. The prices have remained the same for a week now. The rates are expected to drop only at the beginning of October when new stock arrives from Maharastra.”

He also said that there was an “artificial price drop” as most retail outlets were selling poor quality onions at low prices.

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