Wholesale onion prices today rose to Rs 57 per kg at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia’s biggest onion market, which could further spike retail prices in most parts of the country adding to consumers’ woes.
In the price-sensitive Delhi market and some other parts of the country, retail onion prices have already gone up to Rs 80 per kg depending on the quality of the crop.
As per the data maintained by the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), the wholesale onion prices at Lasalgaon increased to Rs 57 per kg today from Rs 55 yesterday.
However, government data maintains that retail onion price is ruling at Rs 66/kg in the national capital compared with Rs 50 in Mumbai and Rs 52 in Chennai as well as Kolkata.
In spite of several government measures, the prices of the key kitchen staple have risen unabated both in the wholesale and retail markets in the last few weeks due to tight supply following shortfall in domestic output.
Also, the likely fall in this year’s kharif (summer) crop due to deficit rainfall has further added fuel to the price rise.
There has been no respite to consumers in the national capital despite the central agency SFAC, which as procured about 8,000 tonnes of onion under the price stabilisation fund, boosting supply of onion through Mother Dairy and Delhi Milk Scheme booths at subsidised rates.
At Mother Dairy’s Safal outlets, onion is being sold at around Rs 40/kg, while 100 DMS booths is selling it at Rs 35.
Even the Delhi government has been selling onions at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 30/kg in 280 locations, but the prices have continued to rise.
Meanwhile, MMTC has floated a tender for import of 10,000 tonnes of onion, expected to arrive next month.
Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has repeatedly urged state governments to take action against hoarders and black marketeers.
But the state governments have not yet taken any such measures seriously, a senior official said.
Experts feel that active de-hoarding measures is the solution for improving supplies in the mandis and check artificial increase in prices.
Currently, stored rabi onion stocks in the country has come down to 14 lakh tonnes from 28 lakh tonnes in July.
Total onion production is estimated to be at 189 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June), slightly lower than 194 lakh tonnes, a year ago.