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calendar   Thursday - December 23, 2010

Export Opportunity?

Oh yes, we have no bananas onions

We have no bananas onions today!



Onion crisis in India leaves millions unable to make curry or dal



India has banned the export of onions after a blighted crop sent prices soaring, leaving many poor families unable to afford a staple curry ingredient.

Prices have doubled in recent days to £1.14 per kilogram – more than the daily income of almost 500 million Indians. The sharp rise has led to hoarding and fears that the price will climb higher still. Some traders predict prices could hit £1.40 per kilogram before they stabilise.

The shortage was caused by heavy late monsoon rains in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan states. Officials had expected crop yields to fall by just under a quarter but instead discovered entire crops had been devastated in some areas. The country is currently relying on warehouse stocks to cook the Indian staple of dal (lentils and onions) and sabzi (curried vegetables).

To head of a growing domestic crisis, ministers ordered a ban on exports to the Gulf states, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka until Jan. 15.

A member of Delhi’s Agriculture Board said: “The monsoon had completely ruined the Maharashtra crop while in Rajasthan it was affected by both extreme summer heat and then heavy rain. Prices were quite high even in October and November but we were expecting things to stabilise as the backup crop had started coming in. Now even that has been exhausted,” he said.

One Delhi restaurateur said onions were now so expensive he would no longer give them away as side dish accompaniment with kebabs.

The onion shortage isn’t just in India. It’s all over central southern Asia.

Sri Lanka experience severe shortage of onion , prices soars to record levels

Minister of Co-operatives & Internal Trade Johnston Fernando, who is keen to curtail the rising prices, plans to import new stocks from Pakistan for the festival season.

However, Pakistan is reported to have received more orders for onions from the region, which has moved the prices artificially with India temporally suspending the exports. “As a government, we will take all necessary measures to control the onion prices by importing from other sources,” said Minister Fernando.

According to Dambulla Economic Center, Sri Lanka produces less than what is required to meet its annual onion requirement and imports 90% or at least 5,000 metric tons from India on a monthly basis. However, Pettah Wholesale Traders’ Association Vice Chairman Nihal Seneviratne stated that Pakistan grown onions are inferior in quality and taste, when compared with India. With onions playing an important part as a vital ingredient in the Sri Lankan food menus, government is expected to import from other sources such as, Thailand, China, Egypt and Netherlands.

Onion prices in the UAE continue to remain high as the supply of one of the most used vegetable from India has dried up following Indian government’s blanket ban on the commodity’s export, as well as a drastic cut down on the arrival of onion containers from Iran, Egypt and Pakistan.

The retail price of onion in the UAE market has touched Dh5 per kilogram, up from Dh1.5/kg earlier. “We used to get 10 to 12 containers of onion regularly. Yesterday, not even one container came from India,” said Sidharth Chomal Kamal, Managing Director, Sun Floritech International, fruits and vegetables wholesale dealer in Al Awir Vegetable market.
...
Wholesale price of a kilogram of onion in the UAE market is Dh2.80 and the Indian onion is Dh2.50/kg. Iranian onion commands Dh2.2 per kg and Egyptian onion costs Dh1.8 per kg.

Dh1.5/kg is 41¢ per KILO, which means onions cost 18¢ per pound in the United Arab Emirates.  At the peak of the Onion Panic before India curtailed exports, onions in India were retailing for just over 80¢ per pound. That’s the panic market price. A 3lb bag of plain old yellow onions costs $2.49 in my local grocery store. That’s 83¢/lb, a normal everyday price.

Silly foreigners! Screw your local markets, export your onions to the USA!

But in the mean time, here’s a recipe for a very nice Dal Makhani that uses no onions at all, and another that only uses one onion. Dal Makhani is the yummiest stuff ever to dip a fat hot chunk of naan bread (pita) into. It’s just kidney beans and lentils with spices, butter, and cream. So good!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/23/2010 at 01:24 PM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsFine-Dining •  
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