A central team, which visited Lasalgaon on Friday to inquire into the volatility in onion rates, went back satisfied after knowing that this time the country will not suffer any shortage of onion. The situation, in fact, is expected to be reverse this time around, the team was told by top officials of the Lasalgaon APMC.
The team from the Union food and consumer affairs ministry that spent considerable time overseeing the functions at Lasalgaon throughout the day met farmers, traders and exporters and got their feedback on the possible reasons behind the volatility in rates.
The team members were told that while last year rates had shot up due to shortage, this time prices are sliding because of increasing arrivals, Nanasaheb Patil, chairman, Lasalgaon APMC, said.
He said that a suggestion was put forth before the team to include compensation for farmers in case of price falls to protect their interests.
“The team had come prepared to see a similar situation as last year when prices were high and were surprised to see the reverse this time despite a drought situation,” he said. The team assured farmers that they would take the feedback to the PMO office, he added.
Last August, onions were selling at a higher price of R60-70 per kg in various cities, including Delhi. But now, wholesale prices of onion have plunged to R5-7 per kg and the onion is retailing at R20-25 per kg. The R500-crore fund is meant to control price of perishable horticultural produce like onions and potatoes. Price variations are as wide as R350 per quintal as minimum and R1,100 per quintal as maximum rates, he explained.
As per the NHRDF’s estimate, the total production of rabi onion in the country will increase by 5-7% and accordingly some 205-208 lakh tonne from the area of 12-13 lakh hectares depending upon the weather conditions in future, he said. Rabi accounts for 60% of the total production of the year.