Onion traders here face losses of up to Rs 20 crore daily after Railways could not provide wagons to transport onions, but rates in Delhi remained stable, industry experts said.

Traders are being forced to sell their stock to the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) in the district at low prices, resulting in falling onion prices, Nashik District Onion Traders’ Association’s Vice-President Sunil Jain.

Growers as well as traders have urged Railways to provide wagons to transport onions.

Onion prices at the Lasalgaon APMC dropped by Rs 350 per quintal since Monday and since onions are not stockable, Lasalgaon APMC Deputy Chairman Balasaheb Kshirsagar said.

Kshirsagar told PTI that onion prices since Monday have been ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 a quintal.

In the National Capital, wholesale prices remained stable at yesterday’s level of Rs 21/kg. At organised retail outlets, onion is currently being sold at Rs 28/kg, but local vendors are charging as high as Rs 40 per kg.

Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Azadpur Chairman Rajinder Kumar Sharma said: “Prices have declined by Rs 5 per kg from Rs 26 per kg last week. Supply position is normal.”

Earlier, former NAFED chairman and senior progressive farmer Changdevrao Holkar told reporters that onion prices, especially in Northern India increased in recent times, since railways authorities could not provide wagons since 3 weeks.

Prices are expected to ease further when supplies from Rajasthan start reaching Delhi market from February 25.

The government is closely monitoring the price movement of onions both in wholesale and retail markets as the commodity is a politically sensitive food item.

Onion production is expected to be close to last year’s level of 174 lakh tonnes even as total area under the crop is down by 10 per cent this year.

During April—January period of this fiscal, onion exports stood at 13,78,545 tonnes valued at Rs 1,172.23 crore. In 2011—12 fiscal, shipments stood at 15,52,904 tonnes worth Rs 2,141.42 crore.

(This article was published on February 5, 2013)
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