The decision was taken by the Price Stabilisation Management Committee, headed by the secretary, consumer affairs. It was attended by seniors from various ministries and the agencies through which the import would be canalised. As of Tuesday, prices at the wholesale market of Lasalgaon, near Nashik, one of the largest in the country, had risen 42 per cent over a month. Two months earlier, onions at Lasalgaon were Rs 16.45 a kg, nearly half the current price. The rise has been similar in major wholesale markets at Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan. This price level has not been seen since October 2015. Consumption has declined, with retail prices of Rs 60 a kg in Mumbai and Rs 50-55 in Delhi.
The sharp rise is attributed to harvest delay in Karnataka due to unseasonal rain in October. Traders estimate only 40 per cent of the usual area was sown in Karnataka this year, due to unseasonal rain, which also reduces onion productivity due to high soil moisture. Karnataka contributes nearly 15 per cent of the early crop. And, the crop in Maharashtra has been delayed.
Onion exports during April-July, first four months of this financial year, jumped 56 per cent to 1.23 million tonnes worth Rs 1,443 crore, from 788,257 tonnes valued at Rs 978 crore in the corresponding period a year before.