Research and rustle up recipes, minus onion, to win over the food-loving family. For, the key kitchen tastemaker is likely to remain beyond the common man’s reach till the end of the festive season.
Though a mid-August consignment of rabi crop from Nasik had dragged down prices in Ranchi, onions at Pandra Bazar — the largest wholesale market of the capital — have once again become a tear-jerker, with nearly a 25 per cent rate hike this month.
Deepak Kumar, a wholesaler of potatoes and onions under Pandra Bazar Samiti, blamed a sudden snag in supply from Nasik in Maharashtra and also Andhra Pradesh for the pocket pinch.
“This is the time we start receiving rabi crops, which is considered the best variety in terms of storage (over six months). Till August-end, Nasik delivered and the wholesale rate of onion went down to Rs 30 a kg. But, it has bounced back to Rs 45-46 a kg. The markets (Nasik and Andhra) have stopped supply, citing steady export demands,” he said.
Wholesaler Neeraj Kumar said they were being able to fulfil Ranchi’s onion demand because state produce was available. “We are receiving five trucks from Palamau. Though the demand in the capital is around eight trucks every day (at Pandra Bazar), we are able to manage because the price rise has reduced sale in the retail market,” he explained.
At Daily Market and other retail marts in Doranda, Lalpur, Ratu and Kanke Road, the price of onion is fluctuating between Rs 48 and Rs 50. At most vegetable marts in the city, too, the current price of onion is around Rs 50.
“Do not be surprised if the rate crosses the Rs 55 mark because we are not sure how long we will receive onion consignments from Palamau,” Neeraj said.
Wholesalers like him admitted that they were not anticipating a price cut anytime soon. “If we sell onions at Rs 45-46, how can we expect retailers to sell at the same price?” said Deepak.
Members of Pandra Bazar Samiti said they were “constantly in touch” with Nasik to crack a deal for at least five trucks a day, instead of the usual 15, so that onion prices could be brought down to Rs 40.
Till then, it is a test for every homemaker’s culinary skills — and common sense.
Jaswant Kaur has turned from a homemaker to hoarder. The resident of Bariatu, anticipating a price blow, had purchased a 10kg stock in the last week of August, when the retail rate per kilo of onion was still Rs 35. “Today (Friday), the price is Rs 50 again. I am being stingy while using peyaz in sabji, hoping to serve up tasty khana to my family in the festive season,” she said.
Pallavi Mishra of Ratu Road tried playing smart, but in vain. She went to Pandra market, hoping to buy stock directly from wholesalers. “It could have saved me Rs 10 or so per kilo. Small onions were available at Rs 40 a kg and large ones at Rs 45-46. Unfortunately, you have to buy in bulk at Pandra, which I obviously could not,” she said.