Nashik traders, growers seek removal of onions’ stockholding limit

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Published: December 14, 2019 3:17:41 AM

“From a severe shortage, onion arrivals are now on the rise and farmers have begun to harvest the kharif crop. Unlike the rabi onion, the kharif onion cannot be stored and therefore farmers will be forced to dispose of their crop soon. Stock limits or hoarding in such a situation no longer remains relevant,” he explained.

onion, onion price, onion proce today, Nashik traders, removal of onion stockholding limit, market newsOn Thursday, onions traded at an average price of Rs 6,601 per quintal while arrivals were 8,210 quintal.

Onion growers and traders in Nashik district — the onion belt in Maharashtra — will soon approach the Centre with a plea to remove the stockholding limits in the wake of increasing arrivals in the markets.

NAFED director Nanasaheb Patil said a meeting is slated to be held with Nashik’s district collector along with local MP Bharti Pawar when she arrives in the city to discuss measures on the current situation.

“From a severe shortage, onion arrivals are now on the rise and farmers have begun to harvest the kharif crop. Unlike the rabi onion, the kharif onion cannot be stored and therefore farmers will be forced to dispose of their crop soon. Stock limits or hoarding in such a situation no longer remains relevant,” he explained.

The current stockholding limit is 250 quintal for traders and in this case, if arrivals increase in the market, traders will not be able to make purchases due to stockholding limits, he said. The main demand at the meeting is to urge the government to remove the stockholding limit since it no longer serves purpose, he said. “We plan to collect data on the supply-demand situation, arrivals and prices, and put forth a tentative programme on measures, before the government, to be taken to tackle the situation on hand to avoid losses to farmers.”

Modal onion prices had begun a downward trend from Rs 11,000 per quintal a week ago to around Rs 6,000-7,000 per quintal on Friday, Patil said. Average onion prices on Friday touched Rs 5,100 per quintal at Lasalgaon — the country’s largest wholesale market — with minimum prices at Rs 2,000 per quintal and maximum prices at Rs 7,701 per quintal.

On Thursday, onions traded at an average price of Rs 6,601 per quintal while arrivals were 8,210 quintal. In neighbouring Pimpalgaon as well, prices were around Rs 6,601 per quintal on Thursday. Arrivals of red onion — that cannot be stored for more than three days because of high moisture content — have also increased. Traders and stockists sell this variety within two days after it is dried in the sun.Patil highlighted imports would not have much of an impact on the average prices since Indian consumers have shown a marked preference for local onions.

The government has ordered over 36,090 metric tonne of onions to battle the shortage, which was triggered by crop damage due to unseasonal rains. Of this 21,090 metric tonne of onions, 15,000 metric tonne from Turkey and 6,090 metric tonne from Egypt have already been contracted. An additional 1,500-2,000 metric tonne of onions are on their way from Afghanistan, Patil said that the imports usually find markets in the South and North and not in and around Maharashtra.

Prices will not come down sharply as predicted to Rs 10 from Rs 20 per kg since there is a mismatch in the demand-supply situation since the crop has been damaged, he said. Seeking a lift on the export ban at this juncture does not make sense, he said.

“In the tentative plan that will be shared with the government, we shall urge the government to allow export when the modal prices drop to Rs 1,500 per quintal and arrivals go up sharply causing a glut, he said.

Lasalgaon APMC chairperson Suvarna Jagtap said she had met some officials from the directorate of economics and statistics who had visited Lasalgaon and had explained the current situation to them.

We are seeking a reversal fo the stock limits since onion cannot be stored. Prices are currently in the range of Rs 7,000 per quintal are likely to decline January 15. Arrivals at this time of the season are usually 15,000 quintals to 20,000 quintals per day and this year have dropped down to 2,000-2,500 quintal at this time. Reserving the stock limits will help farmers since they cannot hold onto their crop for a long time as this onion cannot be stored, she said.

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