Onion prices fall 33% this month

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 20:11 hrs

Increased supply, govt intervention help.

Onion prices declined nearly 33 per cent since the beginning of the month because of increased supply from major producing centres.

On Monday, the commodity was traded between Rs 2,200-3,000 per quintal in Lasalgaon, the largest spot mandi in Nashik district. About 1,100 tonnes of onions arrived today – a 22 per cent rise, from about 900 tonnes on January 5 – from across Maharasthra. A trader said arrivals from Gujarat has also started and it would ease prices further.

In Vashi Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) market, the commodity plunged to quote between Rs 20-40 per kg depending on the quality and size. Onion with high moisture and soil content was traded for a minimum price while fresh goods without soil were offered at a premium. Total arrivals were recorded at 110 trucks between 5-10 tonnes each in Vashi.

Arrivals are likely to increase as the weather has become conducive for harvesting farm commodities. The days are sunny which helps farm labourers to work in the field with ease. Prices will decline if arrivals continue to increase further, said Ashok Walunj, director of Vashi APMC.

In other spot mandis also, onion prices have declined. In Pimpalgaon of Maharashtra, the commodity is trading at Rs 2,100 per quintal from Rs 2,975 per quintal in the beginning of the month. Onion supply to the market has improved from 565 tonnes in the first week of January to around 1,000 tonnes now.

Similarly, in Manmad and Malegaon – the other two major producing centres – onion prices declined to Rs 2,200 per quintal from Rs 2,900 per quintal and Rs 3,200 per quintal respectively. The arrivals almost doubled in both markets to nearly 700 tonnes each.

According to the data compiled by Nashik-based National Horticultural Research & Development Foundation (NHRDF), onion prices in Bangaluru, fell to Rs 3,000 per quintal from Rs 3,300 per quintal. Although the supply in Bangaluru markets declined to 950 tonnes from nearly 1,950 tonnes more than a fortnight ago, prices saw a decline because of all round price fall across the country. Owing to unseasonal rainfalls during the harvesting season in South India, onion output is estimated to decline by around half in this region. Subsequently, supply to spot mandis from local farm houses is likely to decline further. But, traders believe, supply from Pune that would start early next month, will bridge the supply-demand gap in southern markets. Onion had surged to Rs 60 per kg in the beginning of this year. But, following government intervention – raids on hoarders and government agencies selling cheap – brought down the prices. The government will continue with these measures to bring down prices at a reasonable range — between Rs 13-15 per kg, said Virendra Singh, chairman of National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF), the apex federation of consumer cooperatives in the country.

NHRDF data said onion prices fell from Rs 4,500 per quintal to Rs 3,500 per quintal in Kolkata and Rs 4,500 per quintal to Rs 4,000 per quintal in Chennai. In Delhi, the commodity plunged to Rs 2,400 per quintal, from Rs 3,700 per quintal in the beginning of January.

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