Saying that the onion yield this year is expected to be lower, the Centre on Wednesday expressed its helplessness in controlling the rising prices of onions, which crossed Rs 60 per kg this week in Delhi. Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the production this year was expected to be lower since the area under onion cultivation had reduced to 1.90 lakh hectares in 2017-18 from 2.65 lakh hectares in 2016-17. “We have taken several measures, such as procurement by agencies from areas such as Nashik (Maharashtra) and Alwar (Rajasthan) where the cost is lower, as well as import of onions. But it (bringing down prices) is not in our hands,” Paswan told reporters here. Once the supply from (late) kharif starts, prices may come down, he added.
Paswan held a meeting with officials from the ministries of agriculture and food as well as the Delhi government on Wednesday on the rising prices of onions and tomatoes. On October 31, Paswan had blamed hoarding for a surge in the prices of onions and tomatoes in retail markets, and promised that the situation will improve once the fresh supply began. “It is a matter of days. As fresh supply of onion and tomato starts from early November, the prices will come down,” he told the media at an event here to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.