Agri Business

Onion may drop further

M. R. Subramani Chennai | Updated on March 22, 2013 Published on March 22, 2013

bl23_onion.eps

RABI CROP ARRIVALS

With arrivals of rabi crop gathering pace, onion prices are likely to drop further. “At least 90 per cent of the arrivals in the market are from the rabi crop. The late kharif arrivals are coming to an end,” said C.B. Holkar, member of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation.

“Rabi arrivals have begun all over the country. Currently, onions are arriving in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Soon, the crop from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh will begin to arrive, putting pressure on the price,” said R.P. Gupta, Director of the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation, Nashik, over phone.

Onion harvest will begin in Orissa and West Bengal next week and thus, demand will be subdued, Gupta said. “Prices are set to drop. We shouldn’t be surprised if prices drop to around Rs 700 a quintal. But they should not fall below Rs 500 since it will become unviable for farmers,” Gupta said. “Prices are showing a tendency to fall,” said Holkar.

On Friday, the modal price or the rate at which most trades took place in onion was Rs 950 at the Lasalgaon Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee yard, Asia’s biggest for onion. Prices are almost half of what they were at the start of last month. Arrivals, barring Friday, have been above 1,000 tonnes at the Lasalgaon APMC.

The decline in prices is helping exports. “This financial year, we could end up exporting more onion than last year,” said Gupta. In the first 10 months of the current fiscal, onion exports totalled 13.78 lakh tonnes (15.52 lakh tonnes – last year) valued at Rs 1,172 crore (Rs 2,141 crore), according to the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation. “Exports are good. In fact, we asked the Government not to raise the floor price for onion export,” said Holkar.

A minimum export price of $125 a tonne was set for onion in April last year. Since then, the Centre has refrained from increasing it as earlier attempts to ban exports or raise the floor price has met with protests from farmers.

> subramani.mancombu@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 22, 2013
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor