Onion arrivals at Lasalgaon fall to all-time low; crisis on horizon

By: | Published: July 27, 2016 6:02 AM

The new form of trading in jute bags at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale onion trading hub, and other agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) is expected to have an impact on the acreage for the coming kharif season.

The new form of trading in jute bags at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale onion trading hub, and other agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) is expected to have an impact on the acreage for the coming kharif season.The new form of trading in jute bags at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale onion trading hub, and other agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) is expected to have an impact on the acreage for the coming kharif season.

The new form of trading in jute bags at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale onion trading hub, and other agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) is expected to have an impact on the acreage for the coming kharif season.

Although onion trading resumed at Lasalgaon on Tuesday after a gap of nearly 15 days, arrivals dropped down to an all time low of barely 650 quintals at Lasalgaon and 550 quintals at the neighbouring Pimpalgaon Baswant in Nashik district. Modal onion prices also dropped down to R844 per quintal in Lasalgaon and R725 per quintal at Pimpalgaon Baswant. Onions are now brought by farmers to the APMCs in Nashik district in jute bags.

Until now, farmers used to bring truckloads of onion loose in Nashik; elsewhere, the vegetable arrives in 25-kg or 50-kg packs. This changed after a meeting held on Sunday by traders in Nashik, where it was decided auctions would be be done in packed bags instead of being sold loose. According to Jaydutta Holkar, chairman, Lasalgaon APMC, arrivals were low since farmers had to bring their produce in jute bags. Prices also dropped since traders could not inspect the entire produce, which was packed in bags and hence they were hesitant to pay a good price, he said. Holkar said that several farmers were not happy with the new form of trading since the cost of bags has to be borne by them. This also means an additional expense of R70-80 per quintal for the farmer. In addition to the bags, he also has to pay the labour charges for hauling the onions onto the trolley, Holkar pointed out. The market committees in Nashik had decided to commence trading using jute bags on an experimental basis until August 6, when the state government-appointed committee is expected to submit its report and issue a new notification. The APMC chief also expressed the fear that farmers may shift to other crops if this situation continues.

Arrivals in Lasalgaon are usually in the range of some 10,0000 to 20,000 quintals on a daily basis. Holkar pointed out that arrivals had reduced since the jute bag system has been brought into effect for the first time. “Tuesday has been the first day of auctions. The farmers may take some time to get used to the new system. Many of them, however, had expressed dissatisfaction with the new system,” he said.

Sohanlal Bhandari, president, Nashik District Onion Traders Association, said arrivals were low because of the introduction of a new system in the market. This may take some time and there is less demand for onion because of arrivals from other states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as well, he explained.

Meanwhile, according to the latest report issued by the National Horticultural Research Development Foundation ( NHRDF), farmer sentiment to grow kharif onion is quite low due to the low market price of onion; delay in onset of rains in kharif onion-producing areas of country; and complacency of state governments towards kharif onion due to the current glut-like situation being faced by them. Generally, around 1 lakh hectares comes under kharif onion in Maharashtra. In 2015-16, it was about 35,000 hectares because of the drought. During the current kharif season 2016-17, till date, onion seed for about 10,000 hectares has been purchased by farmers from different sources from the markets. Sowing of seeds began after the onset of rains in Maharashtra. Even after good rains during the last 15 days in Maharashtra, farmers are staying away from onion crop due to low prices prevailing in the markets, the report had stated.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition