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Onion prices may fall 20% in two weeks

Karnataka crop arrives, harvesting in Gujarat to start next fortnight

Dilip Kumar Jha  |  Mumbai 

A labourer carries a sack of onions
A labourer carries a sack of onions

Onion prices are likely to fall 20 per cent in two weeks when the new crop from Saurashtra begins arriving in markets.

Onion prices have softened 15 per cent this month following raids on hoarders in Nashik, the national hub for production and trade.

To discourage exports, the commerce ministry raised the minimum export price of onion to $700 a tonne on August 28, over $300 higher than the prevailing price in importing countries. The government also allowed MMTC to import 10,000 tonnes of onion, which is expected to arrive in October.

“These efforts helped cool onion prices. We see a 15-20 per cent fall in the next couple of weeks as the new crop arrives in south India. The impact will be felt when harvesting of the kharif crop starts in two weeks in Gujarat,” said Ajit Shah, president of the Horticulture Exporters’ Association.

The National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation reported a Rs 500 decline this month in onion prices to Rs 3,900 a quintal in Maharashtra’s Lasalgaon mandi, Asia’s largest onion market. Pre-harvested crops from the surrounding regions of Nashik were selling at Rs 2,000-2,500 a quintal. Large stockists in the state also pushed inventory into trade amid raids.

Onion prices may fall 20% in two weeks
“There is no possibility of prices rising as the new crop has started coming in. A huge quantity of matured crop is coming into Bengaluru and Hubballi in Karnataka. In the next few weeks supply from Gujarat and Maharashtra will start,” said R P Gupta, director, National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation.

Onion supply to mandis in Karnataka rose as farmers evacuated fields to sow rabi crops. Karnataka supplies nearly 50 per cent of the early kharif onion. The early and late kharif varieties contribute 20 per cent each of India’s annual onion production. The other 60 per cent comes in from the rabi crop. India’s annual onion production is estimated at 19 million tonnes.

According to the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), onion supply to the Bengaluru mandi rose to 5,179 tonnes on Monday from 3,424 tonnes on September 1. This pulled down prices to Rs 2,789 a quintal from Rs 2,858.

“The latest spell of rain has raised crop prospects in Maharashtra as onion bulbs are maturing. Onion production will remain up this season in Maharashtra,” said Atul Shah, director, Agriculture Produce Markets Committee (Pimpalgaon).

First Published: Tue, September 22 2015. 22:34 IST
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