Onion costs Rs 80/kg, prices expected to cool next month only

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 15 2013, 00:35am hrs
Onions prices have soared up to Rs 80 per kg in major cities across the country due to lower supplies and rates are expected to soften next month only.

Onions are being sold at Rs 70-80 per kg in the national capital by street vendors, while the commodity is available at Rs 55-60 per kg in organised retails like Mother Dairy's Safal outlets.

The price is ruling between Rs 70-80 per kg in Kolkata, Patna and Chandigrah. In Chennai and Mumbai, the price is in the range of Rs 60-70 per kg.

Rates have reached this level after two-and-a-half years. Prices had skyrocketed to Rs 80-95 between December 2010 and January 2011, prompting the government to ban exports of the bulb at that time.

Food Minister K V Thomas said prices have surged because of slight fall in output. Exports are not happening because of domestic rates are higher than global prices, he added.

The minister said that the government would find a solution to contain the prices.

"In the last two days prices have gone up and production has slightly come down and no export is taking place because prices in India are much more than the price outside," Thomas told reporters outside Parliament.

According to sources, the government is considering imposing minimum export price on onion (MEP) and devising other ways to rein in rising prices.

Cooperatives major Nafed has suggested to the Commerce Ministry to fix MEP at USD 650-700 a tonne.

"Today wholesale market at Lasalgaon in Nashik open at slightly higher rates even as supplies remained normal," National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Director R P Gupta told PTI.

Prices are expected to cool down in the first week of September only when supplies Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka increase, he added.

In the wholesale market of Lasalgaon (Nashik), Asia's largest onion mandi, prices rose by Rs 1 to Rs 46 per kg.

At Azadpur mandi in Delhi, rates increased by Rs 5 to Rs 50-55 per kg, Onion Merchant Traders Association Surendra Budhiraj said

He added that supplies, which come from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, were normal today at 12,000 quintals.

Market sources said onion is being hoarded in major producing regions, leading to short supply and higher prices.

India has exported 6.39 lakh tonnes of onion during April-July period of this fiscal compared with 6.94 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. Production stood at 16.6 million tonnes in 2012-13.