Afghan onions, fresh crops cool prices

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 26, 2019 14:55 hrs
Onion

New Delhi: Soaring onion prices may not bring tears to the eyes of Indian consumers any more as Afghanistan has started supplying the commodity and fresh arrivals too have begun.

Afghan onions have started reaching Punjab mandis. Interestingly, it's coming via Pakistan.

Around 30-35 trucks of onion, being readied in Afghanistan for exports, would soon reach India, said a source. "Afghan onions will reach Delhi in one-two days and will definitely cool prices," said Rajendra Sharma, President, the Traders and Onion Merchant Association Azadpur Mandi.

Afghan onions are selling in Ludhiana and Amritsar markets at Rs 30-35 a kg.

According to sources, Afghan traders are overwhelmed with rising onion prices in India and are ready to export their produce. Even if prices stayed at Rs 30 a kg, Afghan traders would continue to send onion, sources said.

On the onions reaching India by roads via Pakistan, a senior Customs Department officer said there was no ban on Afghan farm products.

Meanwhile, fresh crop of onion from Karnataka started reaching Delhi on Wednesday. According to traders, five trucks (125 tonnes) of onion had arrived and more were on the way.

On Wednesday, the wholesale onion price at the Azadpur Mandi declined from Rs 40 a kg to Rs 25-38 a kg. It was selling at Rs 50 a kg last week.

"55 trucks carrying about 1,100 tonnes onion arrived on Wednesday. Also, 1,900 tonnes are in the stock. The increased supply has brought prices down by Rs 7-8 a kg," Sharma said.

Heavy rains in the biggest onion producing state of Maharashtra and other southern states triggered the crop failure talk and pushed the prices up.

However, according to the third advance estimate, onion production in 2018-19 is expected to be 343.85 lakh tonnes, which is higher from 232.82 lakh tonnes in 2017-18.

To curb price hike, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday threatened strict action against onion hoarders and profiteers. The government might consider putting a limit on the stock, he added.

Asking the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India to sell onion at Safal, Mother Dairy, Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests, and its own stores, the government said the prices should not cross Rs 24 a kg.