DOHA: Prices of Indian onion, a best-selling vegetable, have shot up in the local market following a drastic fall in imports from India, the major exporter of onion to Qatar.
Imports from India remain hit, with the major onion producing states in the country experiencing a sharp decline in produce as a result of heavy monsoon showers. Prices of onion in some parts of the country have gone up as high as 100 rupees per kg which is equivalent to about QR6.
Prices of Indian onion have gone up by more than 50 per cent in the local market over the past one week and a further hike is expected very soon, when the stocks run out.
The commodity was sold at QR4 per kg yesterday at leading supermarkets and hypermarkets in Doha while some neighbourhood groceries were selling it at QR5 or QR6 a kg.
Indian onion is short in supply at the central wholesale market causing a rise in retail prices. Outlets directly importing onion from India have also hiked the prices in keeping with the daily price list issued by the Ministry of Business and Trade.
“We were selling Indian onion at QR3 a kg until Saturday but the prices have gone up to QR4 today. The impact of the price hike in India is not yet felt in its full force in Qatar because of the old stocks existing in the market.
“Prices will shoot up further with new shipments arriving in the market. There are also reports that India would impose a ban on exports if the situation worsens in the country,” an official of a leading hypermarket told this daily last evening.
He said there is no panic buying by customers until now. “People will not stock onion or other vegetables in huge quantities. In fact, many grocery owners are buying from us in bulk to sell it out at higher prices.” He said Qatar is looking for alternative sources to meet an expected shortage in supply in the weeks to come. “We have stocks at least for one week and are looking for new sources like Egypt.” India remains the top exporter of vegetables to Qatar and onion forms the major portion of its exports, according to data released by the ministry.
A shortage in supply of Indian onion could lead to a hike in the prices of the commodity imported from other countries as well, say market sources. The Peninsula