Agri Business

Indian onion gets outpriced in export market

Our Bureaus New Delhi/Chennai | Updated on November 22, 2017 Published on August 12, 2013

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Onion prices in key markets such as Pimpalgaon around Nashik in Maharashtra shot up almost at a par with consuming centres such as Delhi and Kolkata.

Maharashtra accounts for a third of the onions produced in the country, followed by Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

“There is no shortage in stocks. The stored stocks are sufficient to meet the demand for next two months,” said R.P. Gupta, Director of the Niphad-based National Horticulture Research Development Foundation (NHRDF).

About 10 lakh tonnes of onion in storage were available for consumption across the country, while fresh arrivals have started coming into markets such as Bangalore, Kurnool and Hyderabad, Gupta said.

Terming reports that excess rains have hit the crop as baseless, Gupta said that rains were not an issue in onion growing areas around Nashik and Pune. “It is difficult to say why the prices are going up despite enough stocks,” Gupta said in what could be taken as a hint that speculators were driving up the prices. Since early July till date, the onion prices have gone up at least 400 per cent.

Gupta expects the fresh onion crop from Maharashtra to start coming into market from September 15. Though the new crop arrival has started from areas around Bangalore, the variety – mainly the rose onion which has a high pungency – is not a preferred one in the northern markets, a trader said. The Bangalore rose onion is largely exported to countries such as Bangladesh and the Far-East.

C.B. Holkar, Vice-President of National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation, said that there is shortage all over the country and prices could rule firm for another one and a half months until early kharif onion hits the market.

Exports

An exporter said that not many shipments have been happening currently and even if the Government imposes a ban on exports, there won’t be any impact on prices.

As such, India has been outpriced in the export market with cheaper Pakistani and Chinese onion gaining acceptance in the Gulf. In Lanka, arrivals of the domestic crop have begun, resulting in the island-nation raising import duty on onions.

The Competition Commission of India had initiated a probe into the high prices of onion in 2011. The commission found some anomaly but no one was specifically charged for the soaring prices that hit Rs 100 a kg in retail outlets then.

Published on August 12, 2013
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