Govt to raise onion acreage by 10,000 hectares

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 30, 2021

Move to meet domestic demand, control prices

The Centre plans to increase the area under onion cultivation by 10,000 hectares during the oncoming Kharif season in order to ensure better availability and control the frequent increase in its prices.

The main objective to increase the acreage is to meeting rising domestic demand and maintaining prices during the lean arrival period, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said in its presentation at the National Conference on Agriculture (Kharif campaign-2021).

The Ministry has identified that 2,000 tonnes of onion seeds are required to cultivate the bulk in non-traditional areas. The seeds will be distributed in Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Besides Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Ministry of Agriculture plans to increase the acreage in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Higher production

The area under onion increased 17 per cent during the 2019-20 season (July-June) to 1.43 million hectares (mh) and 11.4% during 2020-21 to 1.59 mh. This helped onion production to increase to 26.29 million tonnes (mt) during 2020-21 from 26.09 mt during 2019-20 and 22.81 mt during 2018-19.

Though production is higher during the current season, the yield is lower as the crop was affected by untimely rains in growing regions such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

Despite onion production increasing, its prices have tended to surge the past two years in the latter half of the calendar year. This has been mainly since early Kharif arrivals were affected during 2019 and 2020 September-October with the rise in prices continuing till late in October or November.

Whopping prices

These resulted in retail prices of onion topping ₹100 a kg during October in past two years.

The Centre had to step in to control the prices by resorting to measures such as banning exports, allowing imports of the bulb duty-free and imposing stock limits. Prices of rabi onion that are currently arriving in various agricultural markets across the country are ruling at around ₹1,000 a quintal in Nashik, the hub of the bulb trade in the country. Prices are down by over 90 per cent from the peak seen in October last year and 75 per cent from ₹4,000 a quintal witnessed early last month.

Published on April 30, 2021

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