Agri Business

More tears in store? Onion prices may hit new high amid low supply

Our Bureaus November 6 | Updated on November 07, 2019

Retail prices of onion, which had softened a bit last month, have rebounded over the past few days on continued supply disruption, touching the ₹100 per kg mark in pockets of consuming centres such as New Delhi and Chennai.

The bulb could bring more tears to consumers in the days ahead, trade sources said, as the prices are likely to hit new highs with the crop sown in the late kharif season in the key producing regions of Maharashtra being impacted by the extended monsoons.

As prices started touching ₹100 a kg, the Centre stepped in to quickly relax the fumigation and phytosanitary norms for imports of the bulb, expected from countries such as Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran and Turkey.


Rain plays havoc

“Almost 70 per cent of the onion crop in the Nashik region has been destroyed by unseasonal rains,” said Suvarna Jagtap, Chairperson of APMC at Lasalgaon, the largest onion market in the country that sets the price trend.

The wholesale price might cross ₹6,000 a quintal as there is very limited stock of onion left in the market and hardly any possibility of the late kharif crop coming to the APMC in next few days, Jagtap added.

Every year kharif onion comes to the market by October 15, helping curb a price rise. However, unseasonal rains have changed the cycle, said farmers. Moreover, with fields inundated due to rains, the sowing of rabi crop is likely to be affected. Farm expert Nishikant Bhalerao said a delay in rabi sowing will further add to the shortage of produce in the market in the future. “There is no arrival of the late kharif onion crop due to rains. Daily arrivals after Diwali are at 3,000-4,000 quintals this year, against the normal of 10,000-15,000 quintals. The future price rise will depend on the actual damage caused to the crop,” said Jaydutt Holkar, former Chairman of Lasalgaon APMC.

Trader Nitin Jain said majority of the onion arriving in the market is crop harvested in March and April. “We hope that new stock will control the price rise. But, again, this depends on the amount of onion damaged by rains,” he said.

Higher demand

In Kurnool, a major producer of onions in Andhra Pradesh, farmers have harvested a bumper crop this year. Despite huge arrivals, they are getting a good ₹3,200-4,000 per quintal on higher demand, said Ramakrishna, district secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam

Meanwhile, while relaxing the fumigation norms for imports till November 30, the Agriculture Ministry has imposed certain conditions including that the importer should fumigate the staple vegetable in India through an accredited treatment provider.

(Inputs from Radheshyam Jadhav in Pune, TV Jayan in Delhi, KV Kurmanath in Hyderabad, TE Rajasimhan in Chennai and Vishwanath Kulkarni in Bengaluru)

Published on November 07, 2019

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