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India's eye-watering onion prices

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 01:18

The price of onions in India has risen sharply due to lack of rain, causing concern about the affordability of one of the country's most popular food sources. Andrew Potter reports.

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These bags being unloaded in Mumbai are filled with the vegetable that's the cornerstone of Indian cooking, the onion. But this year its price has risen to eyewatering levels. (SOUNDBITE) KAPIL PATNAIK, A CONSUMER, SAYING (English): "The price hike is affecting us. Today I may afford it, everybody may not afford it. Not that I can afford it but I have no other alternative." The reason is rain, or lack of it in key growing areas. Then there's a falling currency. Combined, that's seen the price of onions nearly double in some places. Experts say the way onions are delivered to customers in India isn't helping either. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AN EXPERT FROM MUMBAI, SUNIL SHAH, SAYING: "The theory is that if we have a large and organized retail in grocery and vegetable and distribution we would not face such scenario because they have their backend in place, they have infrastructure, they have their logistics in place, they have warehouses and storages so that the consumer gets uninterrupted supply throughout the year at a reasonable price." It's a real concern in a country where onions are a key ingredient of nearly every dish. Like much of the country the customers at this market want India's government to do more to monitor the price movement of staple foods, and intervene if necessary.

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India's eye-watering onion prices

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 01:18