Farmers and traders apprehend that prices are likely to drop further with the arrivals of the summer crop by the second week of March.
Prices were around Rs 4,000 per quintal just a week ago, Suvarna Jagtap, chairperson, Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee, said.
Wholesale prices of onion have crashed by nearly 50% in key markets across the country, from Rs 4,000 per quintal to Rs 2,000 per quintal, in the last 10 days as the late kharif crop has started hitting the markets. Farmers and traders apprehend that prices are likely to drop further with the arrivals of the summer crop by the second week of March.
On Thursday, modal prices at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale market for the bulb, dropped to Rs 2,000 per quintal. Prices were around Rs 4,000 per quintal just a week ago, Suvarna Jagtap, chairperson, Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee, said.
PK Gupta, acting director, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), attributed the fall in prices to increasing arrivals. The late kharif crop arrivals have begun in most markets, he said. Once the summer crop arrives in the market, prices could fall further.
Jagtap agreed and pointed out that the local crop has begun arriving in West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. “Arrivals have doubled in all these markets in the last 10 days. Earlier, there were no supplies from these states, and therefore, onion from Nashik was in high demand with average prices touching Rs 4,000 per quintal. Now the supply is more than the demand and prices are falling,” she said.
Jagtap said the late kharif onion cannot be stored and once the rabi onion arrives, supplies could increase further. Wholesale prices could drop to Rs 1,500 per quintal soon, she feared.
NHRDF’s Gupta said the rabi onion was expected to arrive as early as March 15. The arrivals might be higher as the area under cultivation has increased. At present, exports from India are not competitive and once the summer crop arrives, exports will also pick up, he said.
Onion prices surged last month after unseasonal rains lashed the growing parts of Maharashtra, raising concerns over the crop prospects. Prices in other growing states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra also increased.