Onion planting is expected to pick up pace over the next couple of weeks in Maharashtra as the kharif season draws to a close. According to senior officials at the Maharashtra Horticulture Department, around 32,000 hectares has been sown in the late kharif and another 35,000 hectares was earlier sown under the kharif crop.
Normally, around 1.29 lakh hectares together come under kharif and late kharif crop in the state, officials from the Horticulture Department said. However only around 65,000-odd hectares of sowing operations have been completed. The pace of sowing, however, is expected to pick up with the recent spell of rains, he said. Farmers in main onion growing regions of the state including Nashik have been awaiting good rains before commencing sowing.
Onion prices opened at modal prices of Rs 3,800 per quintal on Monday at Lasalgaon. Arrivals have begun to reduce as well with only 1,700 quintals arriving in the market. The quantum of arrivals were similar on Friday with modals prices touching Rs 4,300 per quintal.
According to top officials at the National Horticultural Research Development Foundation (NHRDF), kharif production is likely to remain the same as last year because of more arrivals from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
About 40-45% of the total onion output is from the whole kharif season. This kharif season, only about 11,000 hectares out of 22,000 hectares has been covered in Nashik, while about 8,000 hectares has been sown in Ahmednagar out of around 17,600 hectares.
According to agriculture ministry officials the expected loss of the kharif crop in Maharashtra, the biggest producer of onion, would be less than anticipated and the output in Madhya Pradesh is expected to be higher. So the overall kharif onion production would not be affected to a large extent. Though the overall kharif onion crop in Maharashtra is likely to be less due to water scarcity in the state, the area under onion is more than normal in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and areas around Haryana.
“Rajasthan onion will hit the markets from October, followed by those from MP and Gujarat.This will help compensate any fall in production in Maharashtra,” said NHRDF director RP Gupta.