Price escalation in onions: When India sobs, Kashmir Valley is spared the tears

Price escalation in onions:  When India sobs, Kashmir Valley is spared the tears

SRINAGAR: A healthy production of onions this season is keeping Kashmir unaffected by the price escalation in the commonly-used vegetable, with the Valley even in a position to help the other states through exports.
According to the traders here, the homegrown onions are selling for Rs 25 a kilogram in wholesale market and are retailed at Rs 30-35 per kilogram. And the prices are significantly lower than in the state’s across India.
As per the recent media reports a kilogram of onions costs Rs 40 in Maharashtra’s Lasalgoan—Asia’s biggest wholesale market for onions.
Mehraj-ud-Din Nath, the General Secretary of the dealers’ association at Iqbal Sabzi Mandi, which is one of the largest wholesale vegetable markets in Srinagar, told Kashmir Reader that the escalation could have affected the Valley if the local produce wasn’t “significant”.
“Without our own produce, the price of onions could have badly hurt the customers in Kashmir Valley too,” he said.
“At this time of the year, we usually have a very high demand for onions, owing to tourist inflow, weddings, and the need to send supplies to Ladakh. The local produce has saved us.”
Bashir Ahmad Wani, a wholesaler, said the prices of onions could have been even lower if “we (Kashmir) didn’t have to export the vegetable to other states”.
According to Bashir, at least 90 metric tons of the vegetable are being exported to the markets in north India daily, besides the assured regular supply to the state’s winter capital Jammu.
“There is a huge demand for onions outside. And no one can ask the growers not to export the vegetable in return for higher benefits,” he said, adding that many of the growers have limited their supplies to local markets.
“They prefer to export the vegetable over sending it to local markets,” Bashir said.
The onions produced in Kashmir have a short life as compared to the variants grown outside the state, the wholesalers said. However, they said, the prices would have become stable till it is time for the Valley to import the onions from various states.