1. Rise in kharif supplies softens retail prices of key vegetables

Rise in kharif supplies softens retail prices of key vegetables

Rice, wheat costs stable, mainly due to substantial stocks

By: | New Delhi | Updated: December 23, 2015 12:15 AM

The retail prices of key vegetables — potato, onion and tomato — across cities have softened in the last couple of weeks in comparison to prices that prevailed two months back, because of an increase in kharif supplies.

At the same time, the retail prices of rice and wheat have remained stable in the last couple of months, mainly attributed to substantial stocks of grains held with government agencies such as Food Corporation of India (FCI).

This is expected to help the government fight inflation and bring relief to consumers, especially with regard to prices of essential commodities such as pulses and onion, which had been ruling high two months back. In the case of onion, when the retail prices of onion rose up to R60 per kg in many cities in September, the government had imposed a higher minimum export price at $ 700 per tonne for augmenting supplies. Besides, the government also imported around 2,000 tonne of onion from Egypt and China through MMTC for putting a curb on rising retail prices.

However, with the arrival of kharif crops across various mandis in Maharashtra in the last couple of weeks, the wholesale price have plummeted to around R10 per kg against R30 per kg reported just two months back. The retails prices of onion have dropped to around R20 — R30 per kg across cities at present from R50–60 per kg that prevailed just two month backs.

For curbing a further fall in onion prices, the MEP of onion had been reduced to $400 per tonne against earlier MEP of $700 per tonne.”The onion  prices in the  consuming markets have decreased significantly since mid-November  onwards, which is further expected to decrease by December 2015,” the Nasik-based National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHDRF) observed in its latest crop report.

Meanwhile, potato prices which have been stable throughout last year because of a bumper output of more than 45.9 million tonne (MT) last year. In 2013, the potato production was reported at 41.5 MT. “The area under rabi season potato, which grown mostly in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, is expected to be the same as the last year. Currently, around 10% stock of potato is available in different states,” an NHDRF crop prospects report has stated.

The retail prices of tomato had declined marginally compared to prices prevailed two months back. According to agriculture ministry official, the tomato supplies are expected to increase in the next couple of months thus bringing down the prices.

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The retail prices of rice and wheat have been stable in the last one years mainly because of sufficient stocks held with government agencies. According to a food ministry statement, the government agencies like FCI have ‘sufficient’ food grains stocks of 50.4 MT at the start of the month comprising of 26.8 MT (wheat) and 23.6 MT (rice).

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