Onion Arrival Dries Up In Biggest Trading Hub Lasalgaon; Rates In Guwahati To Go Up
GUWAHATI: The sky rocketing prices of kitchen staple Onion has already started to punch a hole in the kitchen budget of an average Indian.
And Guwahatians’ are not an exception to it, and there is a strong possibility the rate may go northward as the supplies from the Onion producing states like Maharashtra, Gujarat are drying up in wholesale markets in Guwahati.
The prices of key kitchen staple have gone up by more than Rs 1000 per quintal in India’s biggest Onion market at Lasalgaon in Nashik district in Maharashtra.
“The heavy monsoon that damaged onion crops has caused a sudden spike in the prices. The situation is expected to remain the same for at least a month,” commodity expert Sunil Tambe told G-Plus over phone from Mumbai.
The retail price in New Delhi has touched Rs 100 kg. Thankfully Guwahatians are still paying lesser at Rs 80-88 per Kg.
However, experts warn that with festive season around and low arrivals of Onion in major trading hubs in Maharasthra-from where majority of Onions are transported countrywide the prices are likely to rise.
A senior official of Food and Civil Supplies department told G plus that the average daily demand of onions in Guwahati alone is about 800 quintals.
However, in last few days there have been no supplies of Onion in Pamohi Wholesale Market and Fancy Bazar Wholesale Market, from Maharashtra and West Bengal.
“With huge demand supply mismatch the prices are going to rise further and festival season will add up to it,” a trader from the Fancy Bazar market told G Plus.
He said that the present wholesale rate of Rs 4,000 per quintal is the highest in the last 4 years in the Fancy Bazar Wholesale Market.
WHY ARE ONION PRICES ON THE RISE?
The heavy monsoon damaged onion which was stored by farmers in key producing states like Maharashtra, Gujarat which has resulted in low arrival in the major markets. The situation is expected to remain the same for at least a month.
Speaking to G Plus, commodity expert, Sunil Tambe said that the daily arrival of onions in the market hub like Lasalgaon is around 2000 metric tons which alone is consumed by the consumers of Maharashtra.
As the onion traders and also the farmers of onion producing a state like- Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh don't have concrete data on how much arrival are expected in markets in near future or how much sowing has taken place for the Rabi season crop, hence there is a price uncertainty.
On the other hand, the government’s planned move to import onions from China, Egypt to the tune of 2000 metric tons won’t affect the prices much because it will be very low which could cushion the soaring prices. On a normal season, the regular arrival in Lasalgaon market is around 2000 metric tones.
Due to excessive rains, onion crop got damaged because of the high moisture and in many cases stored crop were damaged due to weak storage facilities.
WHEN THE PRICES WILL COME DOWN?
With the arrival of winter, which starts right after Diwali, the prices of onions are expected to come down after January 2020, experts said.
The Kharif crop of Onion from Karnataka has already started arriving in the market and this will ease the pressure on supply from Maharashtra as well as prices in adjoining regions.
WHAT IS GOVERNMENT DOING TO CONTROL THE PRICE?
NAFED which holds the Central Buffer on behalf of the Union Government has been directed to distribute Onions in Delhi through stores of Safal, Mother dairy, NCCF and its own outlets at a fixed rate of not more than Rs. 35 per kilo.
States have been requested to utilize a stock of 35,000 ton available with the Central Government for direct retailing to ease the pressure on prices.
The government had withdrawn export incentives on onion under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) in June after bulb prices rose sharply in the country.
Besides, the Centre has discouraged export of onion by increasing the minimum export price and withdrawing incentives. It is also cracking down on black marketers.
The Centre is also attempting to restrict exports by sharply hiking the Minimum Export Price (MEP) to 850 dollars per tonne.