A labourer unload onion bag in Vashii, Thane, India, on Monday, Aug 12, 2013. Image Credit: Bloomberg

DUBAI/NEW DELHI: The soaring price of onions in India has not had an impact in the UAE market as prices remain steady, retailers and wholesale merchants said.

The price of onions in India has skyrocketed from Rs20 (about Dh1.19) to Rs80 (about Dh4.78) per kilogram and has become a major political issue.

That has not affected the prices in the UAE. Onions imported from India are sold for Dh2.50 per kilogram, Kamal Vachani, director of Al Maya Group, which operates a supermarket chain, said.

“To keep our customers, we are not keeping any margins on onions [from India] at all. Onions are very commonly used, so we are keeping low prices for our onions,” Vachani said.

Similarly, Lulu Hypermarkets have not hiked prices of onions from India.

“We have been working with farmers and farmer societies [in India] to directly source produce from them, which has helped retain the existing price [of onions],” said V. Nandakumar, head of corporate communications at Lulu Hypermarkets.

Lulu imports between 1,800 and 2000 tonnes of onions from India per month, he said.

The Indian government blames last year’s drought and excessive monsoon rains this year for the shortfall in supply, which has led to the price rise.

Excessive rains in onion-producing states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have resulted in crop failure. Produce from southern states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are yet to reach the market due to inclement weather. Rajasthan farmers opted to ignore onions this year after incurring huge losses due to the bumper crop last year.

According to estimates of the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation, hoarding is responsible for 25 per cent hike and while drought in Rajasthan is responsible for 40 per price hike.

The retail price was Rs50 at the beginning of this month and jumped to Rs80 yesterday. Prices are expected to touch Rs100 before tapering off by the end of September.