The government on Monday said vegetable prices will start declining from July as supplies are expected to improve. It also said tur and chana prices have started declining after the imposition of stock limit. However, retail prices of the two pulses are yet to show any decline.

Briefing media on prices of essential commodities, Consumer Affairs Secretary Nidhi Khare said the government’s decision to impose the stock limit on tur and chana has led to some decline in prices (wholesale) of these two pulses.

On high prices of onion and potato, she said consumers are shifting to these key vegetables due to high prices of other vegetables as a result the demand has also increased. She said the prospects of kharif onion is good due to expectation of above-normal monsoon this year.

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The secretary hoped higher production of kharif onion may help cater to the festival demand as the current rabi season’s crop lasts till November. The area under kharif onion may increase to 3.76 lakh hectares against 2.85 lakh hectares last year.

Onion output

Trade sources said the production of rabi-grown onion may dip 30 per cent from the earlier estimate of about 20 per cent based on the arrivals of the crop, so far.

Rabi onion production in 2023-24 (July-June) was estimated to drop to 193 lakh tonnes (lt) against 236 lt year-ago, a fall of 18 per cent. Rabi onion is critical for the country’s onion availability as it contributes 72-75 per cent of annual production. The rabi crop is also crucial for ensuring year-round availability of onion as it has better shelf-life compared to kharif onion and can be stored for supplies till November-December.

The Centre on June 21 imposed stock limits on tur and chana with immediate effect which will be applicable to wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, millers and importers and will be valid until September 30. The measure will help “prevent hoarding and unscrupulous speculation” and also improve affordability to the consumers, the government said.

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Under the order, stock limits have been prescribed for tur and chana (including kabuli chana) — 200 tonnes for wholesalers, 5 tonnes for retailers including at each retail outlet of big chain. However, it will be maximum 200 tonnes at depot for the big chain retailers. The maximum stock limit is the quantity equivalent of last three months of production or 25 per cent of annual installed capacity, whichever is higher, for the millers.

The pan-India average retail price of chana dal was ₹88.28/kg on June 24 and was ₹87.96/kg on June 19. Similarly, the retail average price of tur dal was ₹161.57/kg on Monday as against ₹161.27/kg on June 19, according to the Consumer Affairs Ministry data.

The official data also show that pan-India average prices of onion have increased 70 per cent to ₹39.69/kg in retail market and that of potato by 50 per cent to ₹33/kg on June 24, from their year-ago levels.