Transplanting of onion seedlings for early kharif season onion has begun in the the southern parts of the country, even as harvesting of rabi onion is currently going on in full swing across onion growing states.
Significantly, average prices have stabilised and gone up to around R850 per quintal at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale hub for the bulb. Prices had fallen to R400-700 per quintal prompting traders to seek a meeting with the Maharashtra chief minister to intervene.
According to RP Gupta, director, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), the modal prices have stabilised between R750 per quintal to R850 per quintal though arrivals are more in quantity. On Thursday, however, arrivals declined to some 11,000 quintals, while on an average they vary between 12,000 quintals to 15,000 quintals. Onions are now going into field storage until the arrival of the monsoons and even at this price of R850 per quintal, farmers are still not making profits, Gupta said. If one includes market cess and APMC fees in the cost, farmers end up with losses, he said.
According to Jaydutta Holkar, chairman, Lasalgoan APMC, the rates have not gone up and farmers end up selling the produce between R600-700 per quintal because of internal competition. Farmers are still protesting low prices and ‘rasta roko’ agitations have been held in various onion growing regions, he said. Meanwhile, the transplanting of early kharif onion seedlings has begun in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool; around 2,000-2,200 hectares have been transplanted so far, according to NHRDF reports. Transplanting of early kharif crop in Tirpur, Coimbatore, Erode and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu has been completed; around 1,400 hectares have been covered so far.
Harvesting of early kharif onion is expected to start by end of July and will be continued till September. Kharif seed sowing in Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP and other states will start after the monsoon arrives. NHRDF has begun sale of seeds and while farmers have begun purchasing seeds, they are awaiting the arrival of the monsoons before undertaking sowing operations, Gupta said. NHRDF usually sells around 1,500 quintals of seeds to farmers.