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Crisis caused by hoarding: onion loot exposed
December, 24th 2010

Spiraling onion prices have brought tears to the eyes, quite literally. At Mumbai's biggest wholesale market, CNN-IBN peels off the murky layers of mystery and manipulation around the onion price hike.While the traders at the APMC market were reluctant to talk, CNN-IBN captured a market transporter on a hidden camera spilling the beans.He also claimed that politicians are equally responsible.

According to him the price hike is doing no good for the farmers. One trader even mentioned that they still have the stocks from March.

Maharashtra's Agriculture Minister, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also reiterated what the market insiders told and came down heavily on hoarders.

But the traders blame the middlemen and retailers for creating artificial scarcity.

For example, they allege, if the market price of onions meant for domestic use is around 2000 per quintal and that of the export quality produce is 6000 per quintal, retailers are quoting the export price as the average for onions which are of poor quality due to the unseasonal rains.

Wholesalers said that it is the retailers who are making super profits by quoting export rates for domestic produce - rates unrelated to the cost at which the produce was bought, taking advantage of this year's poor yield and a market pricing that's unregulated.

So even while the Government is now monitoring the prices right at the highest level, it's the lack of regulation at the ground level that seems to have precipitated these onion tears.

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