On Monday, arrivals at Lasalgaon crossed 10,800 quintal, with minimum prices touching Rs 2,000 per quintal , maximum prices reported at Rs 6,800 per quintal and modal prices touching Rs 4,500 per quintal.
Good news is around the corner for consumers as wholesale onion prices at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale market for the bulb, dropped to Rs 4,500 per quintal on Monday. Last week, wholesale prices had touched Rs c11,000 per quintal in some of the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Nashik. Retail onion prices had crossed Rs 160 per kg and even Rs 200 per kg in some cities across the country.
On Monday, arrivals at Lasalgaon crossed 10,800 quintal, with minimum prices touching Rs 2,000 per quintal , maximum prices reported at Rs 6,800 per quintal and modal prices touching Rs 4,500 per quintal. Wholesale prices at the market were gradually reducing last week onwards from a maximum of Rs 7,500 per quintal a couple of weeks ago. On Friday, some 5,762 quintal arrived at Lasalgaon with minimum prices at Rs 2,500 per quintal and maximum prices at Rs 10,064 per quintal to average at Rs 6,801 per quintal.
Similarly, on Thursday last week, average prices at Lasalagon were Rs 7,001 per quintal, Rs 5,025 per quintal on Wednesday and Rs 7,501 per quintal on Tuesday. According to data available with the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), arrivals showed a gradual improvement from 4,604 quintal on last Monday to 5,762 quintal on Friday.
Lasalgaon APMC chairperson Suvarna Jagtap attributes the drop in prices to three key reasons — arrivals in market from most onion-growing states including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the southern states, influx of the imported onions in the market last week onwards and the reduction of stock limits to 25 tonne per wholesaler.
“With the improvement in weather, onion arrivals have begun from most markets including Nashik, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Karnataka and Telangana. Farmers have started bringing onion to the market and arrivals are large usually on Mondays since it is the start of the week after a gap of two days,” she explained. The Lasalgaon market accounts for 28% of Maharashtra’s onion produce and the state accounts for 35% of the country’s onion requirements. New stocks have started trickling in the markets, according to market officials. While the Solapur APMC saw around 700 trucks carrying some 7,000 tonne, the Pimpalgaon APMC got around 250 tonne of the bulb from farmers.
Some farmers have also started bringing premature onion to the market since the prices were high last week in most markets. Jaydutt Holkar, former chairman, Lasalgaon APMC, said the onion is being harvested by farmers last week onwards and in some cases the farmers are harvesting premature crop in the hope of getting good prices.
Around 25% of arrivals in Lasalgaon mandi were of premature onion of the current season, he pointed out. The government should withdraw the stock limit, which was halved on Tuesday to 5 tonne for retailers and 25 tonne for wholesalers from their earlier limits of 10 tonne and 50 tonne, respectively, Holkar said, adding that it may become difficult for wholesalers to send onions outside the state since arrivals are bound to pick up with harvesting set to kick off in full swing. Last year, arrivals were to the tune of 15,000 to 20,000 quintal from Lasalgaon on a daily basis at this time.
Meanwhile, MMTC has contracted for 11,000 tonne of onion import from Turkey after the government-owned commodity-trading company signed an import deal of 6,900 tonne earlier to increase its supply and eventually cool down prices. India’s annual onion production is estimated at around 230 lakh tonne. With an annual export between 30 and 40 lakh tonne, India’s onion consumption is projected at 190-200 lakh tonne.