A possibility of kharif and late kharif onions arriving in the market in large quantities could see modal prices falling below the R10 per kg-mark in Lasalgaon next month, top officials of the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) said.
Prices are expected to remain low until March or April with the arrival of rabi crop.
On Monday, around 20,000 quintals of onion arrived at Lasalgaon with modal prices touching R1,060 per quintal.
Modal prices were similar on Friday when around 18,000 quintals arrived in the market with modal prices touching R1,100 per quintal. According to industry experts, arrivals are expected to rise since the onion harvesting has taken place across the country in the same time period leading to the price fall.
Wholesale prices of the key kitchen staple are expected to drop from R10-12 a kg to R7-8 a kg in the coming months, while retail markets may see a decline from R22-30 a kg to below R20 per kg.
According to NHRDF director RP Gupta, the kharif arrivals are expected to continue till January and late Kharif harvesting is expected to begin from January onwards. Usually, the arrivals are staggered in october, November and December. However, this time because of late planting November onwards, December has turned out to be the peak period for onion arrivals, Gupta explained.
As the situation is likely to continue till January and there is a possibility of combined arrivals of both kharif and late kharif crop in the market, there could be a further fall in prices, he said.
Gupta said the quality of the kharif crop this year has been good as there have been no rains in between. Although the kharif area had gone down by 10-15% because of lack of rains, the late kharif arrivals have gone up by 10-15% and rabi planting has also gone up by 10-15%, he said.
Overall, subject to weather conditions, the country’s total onion production this year could go up by 10-15%, he said.