Sky-high Onion Prices & its economic impact !
Love to top-up your maska Pav-bhaji with raw onions? Think twice!
The Aam-aadmi has already reduced his intake of onions as a part of his daily diet. Though, I am a bit late to report on this topic, sky-rocketing onion prices are literally bringing tears to the eyes of homemakers and hoteliers alike; not to mention the poor people who rely on it day in and day out.
The members of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) have resolved to hike prices of some of the most sought after delicacies on their menu cards by at least 20 to 25%. Restaurant owners are already feeling helpless by rising onion and tomato prices.
A week ago, the onion prices had touched dizzy levels of Rs.75-85 per kg in some of the top metro cities of the countries on the back of untimely rains in Andhra Pradesh and poor crop in Maharashtra. The spurt was further fuelled by the speculative interest and black-marketing of onions.
For once, I would like to point out that onions have the power to bring down the government in a democratic country like India. Does that sound over-stated? Well, that’s not a hypothetical thought if one were to say that Apples were cheaper than Onions at one point of time.
In fact, if onion and tomato prices go completely out of hand, it could work out as an ideal recipe to spell doom for the common people relying on these two primary food articles as a core part of their staple diet.
Even as I am writing this, the onion prices have stabilized a bit around Rs.55-65 a kg on the back of imposition of export ban by the government; but they’re still no where near to the levels it quoted a month ago in the retail mandi.
Moreover, even as the froth developing around onions shows some signs of cooling down, the prices of tomatoes and garlic have already raised their bids to join the party with onions, making matters worse for the poor. Tomatoes were sold at Rs.60 a kg in Mumbai and Garlic quoted at Rs.300 per kg in Delhi.
If you’re from one of those well-to-do families or income groups who do not care about spike in prices of food articles, I would like to alert you- not to under-estimate the inflationary pressures exerted by the food articles.
Sustenance of food inflation at higher levels could also lead to an up-tick in EMIs of your home loans; as interest rates start inching northwards powered to cool down inflationary pressures as may be perceived by the country’s Apex bank.
A note to Aseem: If you’re actually reading this article, you might as well realize that you missed including this burning issue of rising Onion prices in your Top-10 list of disasters in 2010 :)