Consumer hit by skyrocketing onion prices would soon get some relief as supplies from the largest producing state – Maharshtra – is set to increase in the coming weeks. Maharashtra chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan said here: “The onion crisis is over and prices will ease now.”
Chavan said that onion prices shot up due to shortages caused by excess monsoon rains destroying crops and variation in crop cycle. He also clarified that recent spike in onion price was ‘‘not due to cartelisation or hoarding’’.
Maharashtra produces more than 40% of the country's annual onion production estimated at more than 16 million tonne. In Delhi, retail onions prices on Monday has declined to R50 – R 60 a kg from R80 a kg prevailed a week back.
Due to rains in key growing states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karntaka, the onion harvesting got delayed which pushed up retail prices to as high R80 to R90 per kg in most of the key urban centres.
Onion prices have been volatile for the last three months. The government has taken several measures to check price rises through improving supplies through imports. The government has also directed all state governments to crack down on hoarders and speculators who are keeping onion prices artificially high.
A food ministry official said that due to an estimated 7% drop in current year (2013-14) onion production, the prices rose sharply in the last three months. In 2012-13, the annual onion production was more than 16.6 million tonne (mt). This year the production is estimated to have declined to 16.3 mt.