Onion prices hit a 2 year high
The onion wholesale prices reached a 2 year zenith, shooting up by Rs.400 selling at Rs.4,900 per quintal in Lasalgaon, Nashik. Onion's largest wholesale market Lasalgaon had been selling onions at Rs.4500 a quintal previously. National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) said that the price shoot up was because of decline in harvest as supplies had been delayed.
There was a dramatic rise in onion prices from Rs.35 per kg to Rs.88 per kg across markets in India in 2010. The crisis was caused by deficient rainfall in the onion producing regions which led to a shortage of onion production There was a decrease in production from 2000-3000 tons a day to 700-800 tons a day in New Delhi's markets.
With the onion prices on an all time high, the government has decided to import 10,000 tonnes of onions from China, Egypt and Pakistan. There has been a 66% increase in onion prices from Rs.15 per kg to Rs.25 per kg at the Nasik wholesale market in Lasalgaon. However, government sources claimed that there were sufficient onion stocks in storage.
Onions are not just a staple in India but in high demand worldwide, India exported 12,38,102.60 MT of fresh onion worth of Rs.2,300.57 crores during the year 2014-15.
Onions being sold at Rs.50 per kg in Delhi have made the Centre direct the Delhi government to open temporary retail outlets for selling onions at lower rates. It also asked cooperative NAFED to accelerate onion imports to increase domestic supply and cut rising prices. Moreover, cooperatives have been asked to procured 7,000-8,000 tonnes of onions from Nasik using the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF).
Krushi Utpadan Sanskaran Kendra (KRUSHI) set up in 2002 at the cost of Rs.8 crore in Lasalgaon- a plant that can irradiate 3 tonnes onions per hour, increasing their shelf life, which isn't even being used.
Onion prices have been seeing a 70% rise in prices within a month and are likely to rise more. Along with this, prices of key pulses have also shot up due to the shortfall in the lentil production due to deficient rains. Prices of chana, urad, masoor and tur are rising falling within the range of Rs.75-135 per kg in Delhi market.
The soaring onion prices have left the government worried with prices on the rise since first week of August. The poor monsoon rainfall and poor supply throughout the country is affecting the prices, and is expected to push the prices further. States such Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh which are the major producers of onions have been adversely affected by the poor rains.
The total onion production last year was pegged at a little lower than 194 lakh tonnes a year ago, and this year the production has been recorded at 189 lakh tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June).