Agri Business

Import talk halts onion price surge

RAHULWADKE VISHWANATH KULKARNI Mumbai/Bengaluru August 11 | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 11, 2017

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As talk of onion imports gains ground, the price rally in the bulb in recent days seems to be ebbing. Wholesale prices of onions across major markets in Maharashtra, such as Lasalgaon, Pimpalgaon and Niphad, have witnessed a decline in the last two days.

In Pimpalgaon, where arrivals stood at 2,500 tonnes on Friday, the modal prices dropped by a fifth to ₹2,000 per quintal from the high of ₹2,500 two days ago.

Similarly, in Lasalgaon, prices crashed to ₹2,100 per quintal from a high of ₹2,450 on Thursday. This decline is amidst a dip in market arrivals at Lasalgaon, estimated at 1,200 tonnes on Friday, the lowest in the past fortnight.

Jaydutt Holkar, Chairman of the Lasalgaon APMC, said there was no clarity as far as onion imports were concerned. News of the likely imports has led to a crash in prices and traders are liquidating positions, he added.

Haze over imports

While the trade is looking at Egypt to source onions, the actual quantity being imported is not clear. Nitin Jain, a trader in Lasalgaon said there have been rumours of 300 tonnes being imported. Such rumours have checked a further rise in prices, he said.

However, the dip in wholesales prices may have only a marginal impact on retail prices, Jain added. Retail prices in major centres have doubled over the past month to ₹35-40 a kg.

Onion prices in Nashik have more than quadrupled since early July, after reports of weak rains hit supplies from Karnataka and Kurnool, and excess rains shrank output in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Looking at Egypt

The price surge had led some traders to explore the option of importing onions from countries such as Egypt as fresh domestic supplies from the ongoing kharif season are expected to hit the markets only in October.

Even large corporates such as Metro Cash and Carry are exploring the import option to boost supplies in the forthcoming festival season.

“We are looking at prices in Egypt and are still in discussions,” said Raviganesh Venkataraman, Director, Offer Management and Supply Chain, Metro Cash & Carry India Pvt Ltd.

Metro purchases around 4-5 tonnes from the Nashik region every day.

Published on August 11, 2017
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