Onions, one of the indispensable items when it comes to Kerala cuisine, are gradually becoming a luxury for middle-class households in the state.

The price of shallots (small onions) is skyrocketing in Kerala, with a kilogram now costing more than Rs 100, compared to the Rs 25 three months ago, and is expected to shoot up even more. Shallots are priced at Rs 90 per kg in wholesale markets, while at retail shops it costs over Rs 100.

The production of shallots has come down drastically in recent weeks, which resulted in the price rise. Shallots mostly come from Tamil Nadu, and the crisis was triggered by the drought situation in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Onions are an important part of the dishes in the cooking menu across the households in the state. Three months back, shallots could have been bought for Rs 25 per kg. In March, the price touched Rs 40, and by mid­-April it rose to Rs 70.

For the past few months, a few vegetables have witnessed a 150 per cent rise in prices. With the drought situation in southern states continuing unabated, the prices of several vegetables are expected to rise further.

However, while small onions have become dearer, the price of big onions is coming down. Onions come to Kerala from Maharashtra in large quantities and the production remains unaffected.