Garlic prices have jumped 40 per cent in three months, on reports of lower production and robust seasonal demand. Data compiled by the government-owned National Horticulture Board showed a price of Rs 82 a kg in wholesale markets here on Thursday, as compared to Rs 59 a kg in September. In retail markets here, it was Rs 147 a kg on Thursday as compared to Rs 100 a kg in September. Retail demand for garlic rises in winter season, for use as a vegetable additive and direct consumption.
“The major reason for the price increase was the crop damage in unseasonal rain during the maturing period last year. As a consequence, output is estimated to decline this year,” said R P Gupta, Director, National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation.
Traders estimate 10-15 per cent crop damage this year due to unseasonal rain and hail in major producing centres. The third advance estimate from the Union ministry of agriculture put production at 1.29 million tonnes in crop year 2014-15 as compared to 1.25 mt the previous year.
“Prices are likely to cool once arrival of the new season crop begins in full swing, probably in the next couple of weeks,” said Gupta. “Bad weather affected the crop this season. Also, farmers have increased the sowing area this year and used a large portion of the crop as seed. This has affected arrival in the mandis. Prices will remain firm till arrival of the new crop,” said Mohammad Anees, partner at Azad & Company, one of Bhopal’s largest garlic traders.
“Export demand has suddenly emerged in the past few weeks, supporting the firmness in prices,” said one of the largest exporters at the wholesale market in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Garlic export jumped 40 per cent to 5,798 tonnes in April–September this year as against 4,117 tonnes in the same period last year. Normally, exports jump in the October–March period,as happened by 64 per cent in 2014-15, to 6,753 tonnes.