Garlic prices soar out of control in UP

Lucknow: Connoisseurs of good food can put away basic Chinese and Mughlai dishes from their plates for a while.

Garlic, which is a basic ingredient in these two cuisines, is now out of reach for the common man.

The price of garlic in major cities of Uttar Pradesh has soared and is selling between Rs 500-550 per kg.

Traders assure that the prices may fall after two weeks when the new crop arrives.

Garlic comes to the cities from local farms in small supply, but mainly from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, besides other districts of UP.

Traders attributed price hike to delayed monsoon last year that pushed garlic sowing to August, leading to a late harvest in January and a subsequent supply deficit.

In the wake of this, city restaurants are dilemma over whether to absorb the increased cost and bear loss, or pass it on to customers.

“We obviously cannot absorb the price rise because we use garlic in huge quantities. We cannot reduce the use of garlic because that would impact the taste. We have no option but to pass on the price rise to consumers,” said the owner of a popular Chinese joint in Lucknow.

Street vendors selling noodles and momos have also been directly hit.

“How can you even think of preparing momos without garlic. We have been forced to increase the prices but our customers are not yet complaining and that is a major relief,” said Rajkumar, who sells momos in trans-Gomti area.

Mughlai restaurants are also feeling the heat.

“Whether it is the abnormal hike in price of tomatoes, onions or now garlic, we are invariably taking a hit because these three ingredients are essential in Mughlai dishes,” said Javed Khan, owner of a popular eatery.

He further said, “Garlic is crucial ingredient in our non-vegetarian dishes and the price hike has forced us to choose between raising prices or compromising on quality, both detrimental to our business.”

Households are hit too, having to cut back on garlic use.

“At Rs 550 per kg, garlic has become a luxury and I am forced to readjust my grocery budget. The seasoning in ‘dal’ does not taste the same without garlic,” said Premlata Sharma, a housewife.

A trader, Ravi Kashyap, said that there was increase demand for garlic — despite the high prices — because of the ongoing wedding season.

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