Wholesale onion prices have shot up by 40 per cent in the last three days to Rs 46 a kg at Lasalgaon market in Nashik, the highest in the last two-and-a- half years, and the spurt could further push up the already high retail rate of Rs 60 per kg in the national capital.
Traders said prices went up due to higher demand as markets were closed in Nashik on account of Eid on Friday, followed by weekend holidays. Officials, however, did not rule out the possibility of hoarding by traders.
According to data compiled by National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), prices at Lasalgaon, Asia's largest wholesale market for onion, spurted to Rs 45.91 a kg today from Rs 33.11 on August 8. The last time rate was at this level or even higher was between December, 2010 and January 2011, as per the data.
The model rate, at which bulk of the onion is being traded, rose by 36 per cent to Rs 43 per kg at Lasalgaon from Rs 31.50 per kg on August 8, despite increased arrival in the mandi, according to data compiled by NHRDF.
Higher prices in Lasalgaon were reflected in Delhi's Azadpur market where rates have gone up today by Rs 10 per kg to Rs 50-55 per kg from Saturday.
"There is no shortage in production of onion and there is enough stock at godowns. It is difficult to say why prices are rising. It could be because of slow release of stock from godowns," NHRDF Director R P Gupta told PTI.
This is possibly for the first time that prices have risen in July and August, Gupta said, adding that new crop starts arriving from June.
Another official with NHRDF, which was established by co-operative Nafed, said traders resort to manipulation during the election year.
"Prices have risen in Nashik because of higher demand from across the country compared with supply as markets were closed on Eid festival and weekend," a senior official with co-operative Nafed said.
India has exported 6.39 lakh tonnes during April-July period of this fiscal compared with 6.94 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. Production