Hyderabad: Consumers look for alternatives as onion prices go up

Most sought-after vegetable sold at Rs 80 to 100 in the retail market since last month.

Hyderabad: It may not be a gourmet ingredient, but the onion is the mainstay of most Indian cooking. It is thus with dismay that consumers have been tracking its ever-upward trajectory. Market gurus say this is because of the constant rains during the harvest period and lack of transport.

Another reason is that because of the shortage some farmers harvested the crop before time, which led to onions rotting after they were harvested.

December does usually see higher onion prices, but this time it is earth shaking, especially for the catering and restaurant business.

“We have at least 20 functions a month. Daily consumption is 40-80 kg, and overall we buy 1,200 to 1,500 kg of onion per month. For Hyderabadi cuisine, onion is an important vegetable, and fried onions are a must for the preparation of biryani. It is also needed for curries. Compromising with onions means compromising with the taste,” says Syed Samiulla Hussain of Al Hussain Catering.

“In every household onion is essential. In the cuisine I learnt from my mother, we use a lot of onions.

My husband is from Kashmir and he wants salad with each and every meal,” says Waseem Unnissa.

“Our sale is tagged to college students. We have reduced onions in our daily Chinese food, but spring onions are a must, and even that we have reduced. The onion samosa is stuffed with three-fourths onion but this has been replaced by carrots, mince and very little onion,” bemoans Prabhu, manager at Malgudi Days Food Court. Onion retails for Rs 100 to Rs 150 per kilo. The government marketing department has decided to import 500 MT of onion from Egypt, a top official said. Some 100 metric tons of onion will arrive in the city on December 7 and, reportedly, will be sold at the Raithu Bazaar in Saroornagar and Mehdipatnam every day from 4 pm to 7 pm.

The retail price will be Rs 60 per kg, and more could be imported if necessary.

Excise duty has been exempted. Telangana is totally dependent on Maharashtra for the supply of onions, and the import will bring relief to the common man.

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