shoppers stung by onion prices

Onion prices in India surged by a third on Monday to hit a record high with supply shortages due to last year's drought in key growing areas. Heavy rainfall this year has damaged the crop in many of the larger growing states in the north and south.

The onion is a common ingredient in many Indian dishes. Its widespread use across the country gives it the status of a political vegetable. Soaring prices of onions have helped dislodge state governments in the past, and rising food costs often spark street protests.

The average prices at Lasalgaon, India's largest wholesale onion market in Maharashtra, jumped nearly 37 percent to Rs 4,300(Ksh5,800) per 100 kg, breaking the earlier record of Rs 3,800(Ksh5,178) struck on December 20, 2010.

Retail prices have risen more sharply. In some metropolitan areas like Mumbai, the retail price was Rs 6,500(Ksh8,860) per 100 kg on Monday, compared with Rs 2,000(Ksh2,725) just two months ago.