Onion seed prices in Maharashtra touch Rs 6,000/kg on acute shortage

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Updated: Oct 23, 2020 10:26 AM

Normally, seeds are sold at Rs 1,500-1,800 per kg. This season, seeds are being sold at record prices ranging between Rs 4,500 per kg and Rs 6,000 per kg, Shailesh Patil of the Maharashtra State Onion Growers Association said.

Maharashtra onion farmers are complaining of a severe shortage of onion seeds as they prepare for rabi sowing. Onion seeds are currently selling at Rs 4,500-6,000 per kg in Nashik, a major onion growing belt in the state.

Normally, seeds are sold at Rs 1,500-1,800 per kg. This season, seeds are being sold at record prices ranging between Rs 4,500 per kg and Rs 6,000 per kg, Shailesh Patil of the Maharashtra State Onion Growers Association said.

Nurseries in the northern belt of Maharashtra (Kalwan, Satana, Malegaon and Deola) have been destroyed because of rains for the third time, he said, adding that imports may be required to save onion plantations. Around 10 lakh hectares come under rabi cultivation in Nashik district.

Private companies account for 30-35% of seed supplies, while farmers account for the remaining 70% supply. Of the organised sector, NHRDF accounts for 80% of supply. Around 12,000 tonne of onion seeds are required every year for sowing operations. Of this, the rabi crop accounts for 7,200 tonne and the remaining 4,800 tonne is used for the kharif crop, according to NHRDF estimates.

When contacted, PK Gupta, acting director, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), said there is a 25-30% deficit of onion seeds because of damage caused to the crop due to rains. The government is looking into the matter and has asked the National Seed Corporation and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) to intervene, he said.

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