The state of Telangana will suffer an acute shortage of onions in January if the government does not intervene promptly. According to onion traders, only timely imports from countries like Egypt, Turkey and Afghanistan will be able to prevent this. Owing to the recent rainfall that lashed the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, onion crops were damaged, forcing the traders to rely on Maharashtra. This has resulted in the price of onions increasing excessively.
For the most part, Telangana relies on Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool and on Maharashtra for onions. In Telangana, Mahbubnagar and Medak districts produce most of the onions. In Hyderabad, onions are being sold for between Rs 80 and Rs 100 or more per kg in retail markets depending on their quality.
T. Srikanth, a member of the Telangana Onion Merchants Association, says: “There’s a very slim chance of the onion prices decreasing anytime soon. This crisis will continue for the next two months. The Maharashtra onions presently sold in the markets are old batches produced in April and May. There is no fresh stock available. The crops have suffered damage due to the rains. Soon we will run out of the old stock. So, the government has to import onions from Egypt, Turkey, Afghanistan, etc.”
During the same period two years ago, Hyderabad used to get a shipment of 60,000 units of onions per day, but now the city is getting only 20,000 units, Srikanth says. According to him, besides Maharashtra, Telangana depends on onions coming from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. “Unless the government imports onions, the crisis will only worsen,” he says.