The government's decision to ban exports onions and limit onion stocks to up 100 quintals per retailer has made onion producers in Lasalgaon see red. They have refused to sell onions in the wholesale market in Lasalgaon today (Monday). Retailers can stock onion only up to 100 quintals and wholesale traders are allowed to keep up to 500 quintals, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said adding that the state governments have been directed to take stringent steps to prevent hoarding.
"The wholesale price of onions have fallen down to Rs 3,400 to Rs 3,200 per quintal. The producers were loathe to sell onions in the wholesale markets," said Jaydutt Holkar, chairman, Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC).
Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale market for onions in Maharashtra, witnessed a rapid rise in wholesale price from Rs 1,200-1,300 per quintal two months ago to Rs 4,300 per quintal last week. Speaking about the rise in prices, Somnath Bodke, a wholesale trader at Gurukrupa Traders in Lasalgaon, said the reasons for the hike is the unseasonal rainfall that continues in some parts of the country. This has led to a scarcity in supply and the current stock of onions available in the market are from the reserves held by stockists and farmers. However, this is also depleting and will result in a further hike in prices, said Bodke.
In Nashik, onions were sold at Rs 40 a kg while in Mumbai prices of onions have stabilised to Rs 35 to Rs 40 a kg in the wholesale market.
In Delhi, though onions in the wholesale market fluctuated between Rs 35 to Rs 40 per kg, customers were provided relief through mobile vans selling onions at Rs 23.90 per kg.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi on Saturday flagged off the mobile vans.
The Delhi government on Friday had announced the onions in the city will be sold at Rs 23.90 per kg through mobile vans and at ration shops from Saturday, a PTI report said.
Arvind Kejriwal said onion prices are as high as Rs 60-80 per kg in retail market across the country.
"The Delhi government will provide onions at Rs 23.90 per kg in all 70 Vidhan Sabhas through 70 mobile vans and at 400 Ration shops."
A person can buy up to five kg of onion.
"This rate is for next five days," Kejriwal said adding there will be strict action against hoarding and black marketing.
The government has made arrangements for 1 lakh kg of onions, he said.
"We will decide on the further requisition based on the sale and consumption in the first five days. We will continue with this move till the prices of onions stabilise."
"The onion sale points will operate between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and no ID will be required to purchase from these points. I hope that the people will be honest and will purchase onions only for domestic use."
In June, the government withdrew 10 percent export incentives on onions after prices started to rise due to dwindling supplies from last year’s harvest and a delay in planting of the summer-sown crop.
Excessive rainfall in the second half of the monsoon season has led to crop damage in several states and stocks held by traders are insufficient to meet demand until the new crop arrives at end-October.
Earlier this month, the government also imposed a $850/tonne minimum export price (MEP) on onion shipments.
The government has also attempted to bring down prices by releasing more onions from federal buffer stocks, prices have remained fairly high, Reuters said.
Meanwhile, to give relief to consumers from high prices, the central government is offloading 50,000 tonnes of buffer stock of onion across the country. State-run Mother Dairy and cooperatives Nafed and NCCF are selling buffer stock onion at a cheaper rate of Rs 23.90 per kg in Delhi.
Other states have also been asked to boost the supply using the central buffer stock.
The Centre last month had also warned of strict action against hoarding of onion amid supply disruption due to floods in parts of major growing states - Maharashtra and Karnataka.
--With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Sep 30, 2019 16:15:05 IST