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India’s onion crisis a ‘gold mine’

August 27, 2013

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- File Photo
- File Photo

KARACHI: As the onion crisis in India boiled up, shipments from Pakistan ensured that the demand for the vegetable was met across the border and helped in keeping the prices ‘stable’.

In the past one week, Indian consumers in New Delhi paid 80 rupees per kg for onions as compared to the current rate of 60 Indian rupees.Stakeholders when contacted by Dawn gave different figures of quantity that was shipped to India in the last one week.All Pakistan Fruit Vegetable Exporter, Importer and Merchants Association Waheed Ahmed told Dawn that some 12-13 containers, each carrying 27 tonnes, were shipped to Mumbai in the last one week at a price $510 per tonne.

The onion crop is currently arriving from Balochistan while Sindh’s crop will find its way into the market from next month.

Ahmed was of the view that exporters had a good chance to cash the Indian onion crisis. Onion is also being exported to Dubai, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

In local markets, there is a difference in wholesale price as quoted by Waheed Ahmed at Rs27.50 to Rs32.50 per kg in wholesale vegetable market new Subzi Mandi while a leading vegetable dealer at Subzi Mandi quoted wholesale price of Rs18 to Rs25 per kg for small onion and Rs30-35 per kg for big onion.

On the contrary, President Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market, New Sabzi Mandi, Super Highway, Haji Shahjehan claimed that some eight to 10 containers, each carrying 12-15 tonnes, were exported to India by sea in the last one week.

He quoted the export price of $400-450 per tonne or Rs40-45 per kg. “We are actually missing a great opportunity to fully exploit the Indian market potential as rains have played havoc with our local onion crop quality in Balochistan,” he said. He added that export made to India cannot be termed as ‘good exportable quality’.

He said that if rains had not hit quality of Balochistan crop, then the export quantity would have been more than twice as compared to the current volume.

Shahjehan said that market is abuzz with reports that India has started buying onion from China due to cheaper rates.

Haji Shahjehan also claimed that the Indian tomatoes were being imported via the Wagah border in the last three to four days to stabilise prices.

“Consumers paid Rs160-200 per kg for the produce on Eid days,” he reminded.

He said that some 25-30 trucks had arrived from India via the Wagah border, each carrying 15-20 tonnes of tomato. He added the quality of Balochistan’s tomato crop was hit by rains.

Currently the retail price of tomatoes is tagged at Rs80 per kg as its wholesale price now hovers between Rs60-70 per kg. Last week, the said commodity was sold at Rs50-60 per kg.