Onion arrives in markets, bumper crop hopes ruined

By: |
Pune | April 07, 2015 12:13 AM

After a week- long gap, Lasalgaon — the country’s largest wholesale market for the edible bulb — saw early rabi onion...

After a week- long gap, Lasalgaon — the country’s largest wholesale market for the edible bulb — saw early rabi onion arriving in markets in large quantity. However, hopes of a bumper onion production have been dashed with frequent spells of unseasonal rain damaging the crop.

The late kharif onion has almost been exhausted and the new onion has begun flooding markets in Maharashtra and the South, top officials of National Horticultural and Research Development Foundation (NHRDF), said.

It may not be a bumper crop this time, RP Gupta of  NHRDF said.

The markets at Lasalgaon- reopened on Monday to larger arrivals owing to the gap caused by festivals. Around 22,000 quintal of onion  arrived at the market at a minimum price of R300 per quintal and maximum of R1,363 per quintal with the modal prices touching R1,000.

The late kharif variety arrivals have begun dwindling and modal prices also dropped to R935 per quintal as against R1,100 per quintal for the early rabi variety.

The country produces 160-170 lakh metric tonne of onion annually — 50% comes during the rabi season (April-May), 30% in late kharif season (January-February) and 20% in kharif time.The Small Farmers AgriBusiness Consortium’s monthly onion and potato report has given estimates along the same lines saying the rabi onion production this year under normal condition is estimated to be 95.55 lakh tonne. It could vary between 95 and 100 lakh tonne.

According to Gupta, like the late Kharif, the early Rabi onion also does not have storing capacity since it is not well dried. The onion arriving in markets after April 15 can be stored, he said. The early rabi crop has begun arriving in markets of Hubli, Dharwad in Karnataka, Kurnool and Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh and Nashik and Pune in Maharashtra. In other markets in the North such as Indore, Ratlam, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab, the onions are harvested late in the middle of the month, he said.

As per the NHRDF latest report, the estimated area and production of onion (1st estimate) is around 11.92 lakh hectares and 193.57 lakh MT, respectively, which is little less in comparison with previous year area and production i.e. 12.04 lakh hectares and 194.02 lakh MT.

Rabi onion area covered during the current season is around 5.70 lakh hectares, which is 12% more compared to last year’s area of 5.07 lakh hectares in the major rabi onion growing states of the country.

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