Onion prices at the Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), the country’s largest wholesale onion market, continue to be on the downslide. Modal prices at Lasalgaon dropped to Rs 600 per quintal, among the lowest this season, with farmers bringing out poor quality onions for sale, top officials of the Lasalgaon APMC said. On Tuesday, some 10,000 quintals arrived in the market with prices touching a maximum of Rs 716 and minimum of Rs 400 per quintal to average at Rs 600 per quintal. Last week on Friday, modal prices were Rs 630 per quintal with some 17,030 quintals arriving in the market and Rs 640 per quintal on Thursday with 15,665 quintals arriving in the market.
According to Jaydutt Holkar, the red onion crop is almost over and summer onions have begun arriving in the market. Farmers usually store the good quality onions in warehouses and storage godowns and bring the rest of the onion into the market. It is currently this poor quality onion which is arriving in the market and therefore prices are also lower. On Tuesday, prices stood at `600 per quintal and this situation will remain the same for another month or so, he said. The maximum storage capacities have been created in Nashik since this region remains one of the biggest markets for onion. Around 47,000 tonne of onion can be stored in Nashik alone through 2,000-odd warehouses. According to Holkar, farmers also create their own storage spaces and this year the storage should be good on the back of a bumper crop, he said.
Usually every year, there is a shortage of onions during the monsoon and post-monsoon periods and so the state government has established onion chawls for storing the crop.The state has storage facilities for 15 lakh tonne of onions. This includes facilities for 8 lakh tonne that have been set up through grants from the government and warehouses with 7 lakh tonne capacity from private sources. The country has storage facilities for around 39 lakh tonne. Market committee sources at Lasalgaon revealed that arrival of onion has increased in all onion-growing areas such as Pune, Ahmednagar, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. As a result, demand for Nashik’s onions has decreased.
Also, supply of both late kharif and summer onions have increased at Lasalgaon, which has led to a drop in prices. The decline in price is expected to continue for at least four to five weeks. Officials said that the price trend is expected to be downwards considering the huge arrival of onions. Meanwhile, the harvest of summer onions is expected to pick up in the next two weeks. The late kharif harvest is expected to continue till Mach-end while summer harvest till April-end.
Last week, Nafed had announced that it will procure 25,000 tonne of fresh rabi onions from Maharashtra and the buying will commence soon. The procurement is being undertaken on behalf of the government to serve the dual purpose of ensuring better price to farmers during peak arrival and storing the commodity for later disposal in the market when retail prices spike.
About 25,000 tonne will be purchased mainly from Lasalgaon as well as Pimpalgaon mandi in Nashik district. Besides Nafed, the government has directed cooperative NCCF and government agency SFAC to procure 5,000 tonne and 1,000 tonne of onions, respectively from Maharashtra. Holkar said that the procurement by Nafed is yet to begin.