Onion prices in Maharashtra crash to Rs 170 a quintal

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Updated: Jan 08, 2019 9:06 AM

The modal price of summer onions is showing a declining trend, crashing to `170 per quintal at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale market for onions at Nashik, on Monday.

Onion prices in Maharashtra’s Lasalgaon crash to Rs 170 a quintal (Reuters)

The modal price of summer onions is showing a declining trend, crashing to `170 per quintal at Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale market for onions at Nashik, on Monday.

According to market authorities, about 1,000 quintals had arrived in the market on Monday. The minimum price was Rs 100 per quintal and the maximum price was recorded at Rs 240. The lack of demand for summer onions has led to drop in average wholesale onion prices at Lasalgaon.

Jaydutt Holkar, chairman of Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), said the stocks of summer onions were expected to last for 15-20 days and with the arrival of kharif onion, prices are bound to fall. Significantly, the previous low was recorded in December 2016 at Rs 150 per quintal.

The average wholesale onion price was recorded at Rs 160 per quintal on Thursday, against `150 per quintal on December 3, 2016.
Holkar pointed out that some of the summer stocks were being used for dehydration purposes in Gujarat, and traders from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were also buying some of the summer crop.

The current arrival of summer onions in the market is the farmers’ storage, which is about six months old. Moreover, the fresh kharif crop has also started arriving in the market, causing a huge drop in demand for the summer onions.

The summer crop, harvested in March and April, has a shelf life of six months. Usually, the last batch of the summer crop reaches the market in mid-October, after which, the kharif onions takes over. This year, farmers stocked on the long-lasting summer crop hoping for a better price later. However, low demand and glut in the market brought prices crashing down. Even the fresh is getting low rates currently.

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The average wholesale price of kharif onions has also to Rs 670 per quintal with arrivals crossing some 25,000 quintals on Monday. On Friday, some 23,864 quintals of onion arrived in the market with modal prices touching Rs 725 per quintal. The current glut in Maharashtra is being attributed to a delay in selling the produce harvested in March. Higher kharif acreage in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh has also led to the decline in demand from Maharashtra.

The Maharashtra government had also made an attempt to salvage the situation by announcing a `2 per kg subsidy on the onion sold from November 1 till December 15, 2018, in the state.

About three lakh farmers stand to gain up to a maximum of Rs 40,000 from this decision.Maharashtra is one of the largest growers of onions in the country with an export share of about 80%. Farmers who have sold their goods in markets across states which are controlled by APMCs will get the subsidy.

On December 28, 2018, the Union ministry of commerce increased the incentives on onion export from 5% to 10%, thereby increasing the demand for onions and stopping the crash in wholesale onion prices.

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