Consumers Express Frustration Over Soaring Prices of Onion in Kuwait

Need to take action against violating markets, grocery stores’

This news has been read 2378 times!

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 3: A number of consumers and specialists expressed their dissatisfaction regarding the rise in the prices of onions by more than 100 percent recently, as well as the scarcity of onions in some cooperative societies and markets. Even though the price hike is evident to everyone, the Ministry of Commerce has failed to acknowledge the rise in these prices. In meetings with the daily, they called on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to monitor and hold various sales outlets accountable, as the price of one kilogram of onion varies from one outlet to another.

Earlier, the price ranged from 190 to 250 fi ls, but now it ranges from 450 fi ls to 550 fils. In this regard, a Kuwaiti citizen Abu Hamoud said he bought a five-kilo onion bag for KD 2.475 recently, but prior to the current crisis, one kilogram of onion cost less than 250 fils. He expressed his surprise by the lack of intervention by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as it seems it does not recognize the current crisis. Abu Hamoud called for the need to import huge quantities of onions in the coming period to prevent any rise in the prices, especially since there is a group of merchants who increase prices automatically.

Another citizen Ali Al-Hajri said, “Indeed, onion prices have increased in nearly two weeks. There are some markets that sell onions at reduced prices of around 290 fils, but this type is almost rotten, while the clean and fresh onions are sold for 450 to 570 fils per kilogram.” Meanwhile, Adel Hassan highlighted that an Arab country’s cessation of exporting onions to Kuwait was one of the fundamental reasons behind the rise in its prices. He called on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to hold inspection campaigns to monitor prices and compare them before and after the escalation of the crisis. Hassan said, “As long as the ministry confirms the availability of onions, it must take action against the violating associations, markets, and grocery stores that raise prices, and deter them from continuing in this unreasonable manner.”

In this regard, Lawyer Salem Al- Kandari, who is interested in economic affairs, said the current onion crisis brought to mind the scarcity of this item during the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating that the price of one kilogram of onions has actually increased to about 500 fils. He stressed the importance of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry reconsidering its import strategy and the need for the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources to expand the cultivated areas of main vegetables such as onions, garlic and tomatoes so that the Kuwaiti market does not suffer from a scarcity of onions in the future. He also stressed the need for the availability of cold warehouses for onion stocks.

Lawyer Al-Kandari called on the government to expand the areas of agriculture in the first place so that the local market does not remain dependent on imports only. He highlighted the need to emulate Saudi Arabia, which has expanded its agricultural sector to a very high extent. Furthermore, Bou Hamad, a vegetable marketing official at a cooperative society, affirmed that onion prices have increased in varying proportions among consumer societies in recent days.

Significant He confirmed that a five-kilo Iranian onion bag used to be sold for KD 1.6 in his cooperative society but it is currently being sold for KD 2.470, which is a significant increase, adding that the price of one kilogram of onion has increased from 190 fils to more than 450 fils.

In addition, Head of the Kuwait Farmers Union Jaber Al-Azmi explained that Kuwaiti onions are planted in the months of December, January, and February, and are harvested in March, April, and May. However, even at the peak of their harvest, they do not cover the entire local market due to which it is necessary to expand their cultivation, especially since they are crops that are easily grown. He indicated that red onions are imported from some countries, such as Egypt, India, Sudan, and others, but when some countries stop exporting them, a crisis occurs, adding that the state should therefore allow farmers to expand their cultivation so that the country is not exposed to any crises of this kind.

By Najeh Bilal
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

This news has been read 2378 times!

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