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Onion Price Hike Tearing Consumers

The price hike of onions at nearly three times more than the usual rate in markets nowadays has become worrisome for consumers, especially housewives and small businesses.

Ipoh Echo’s visit to a few markets around Ipoh has shown that the latest price of onions has gone up to between RM3.99 until RM11.99 per kg, hugely impacting consumers during the ongoing Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

Norsahira, 24, a housewife from Malim Nawar posited that the price hike of imported onions from India and Thailand has burdened the public, particularly those with medium income.

“It’s much costlier for small and large red onions. The usual pricing previously wasn’t much of an effect but we’re forced to accept the current situation, as onions are one of the most basic cooking ingredients.“As a housewife, I had to save and carefully use the onions while cooking to prevent wastage. We could only purchase so much with my husband’s monthly salary, what with my large family,” she expressed.

According to the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Dato’ Seri Alexander Nanta Tinggi, the price hike of imported onions from India which has occurred twice in Malaysia is caused by natural disasters that are currently hitting India such as floods and drought.

“Onions in Malaysia are imported from 29 countries, with five being primary exporters, which are India (36 percent), Pakistan (23 percent), China (19 percent), Turkey (nine percent) and Thailand (seven percent).

“India, being the highest contributor, supplies around 149,539,411kg to our country, and that is based on ‘Malaysians’ interest and taste’.

“To solve this problem, consumers may choose to purchase red onions imported from other countries like China, Pakistan and Myanmar due to their comparatively lower prices,” he said.

Noor Selamat Dollah, 51, a food business operator, opined that the price hike of onions has affected businesses, all the more during the ongoing CMCO.

“Small food businesses like mine suffer a lot from any changes to the price of ingredients, like onions. We can’t afford to increase the price of our offered range of foods since everyone is being thrifty these days.

“As if that isn’t bad enough, there are far less customers since the return of CMCO. Hopefully, the price of onions will go down, where at times, onions only cost RM0.90 per kg. 

“The current price of large red onions at RM3.99 per kg is high, although the record rate was RM7 per kg. The constant fluctuation of onion prices will be worrisome in the long run,” he lamented.

Red onion prices this January
Current red onion prices (November)

Rosli Mansor

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