Onion prices reaches Rs 100-mark, wholesale rates hit 4-year high as heavy rain affects production

  • Prices in Nashik's Lasalgaon market, Asia's largest wholesale onion market, touched Rs 5,500 per quintal on Monday, which is the highest since August 2015

  • In Delhi, the retail price of onion rose by 45% in the past week to Rs 80/kg and the rate stood at Rs 55/kg on 1 October

  • In Madhya Pradesh, which is also an onion producing state, onion prices continued to remain range of Rs 70 to 80 per kg despite stock limits imposed by the government

The relief of the recent decline in onion prices has shortlived as the kitchen staple's rate reportedly reached Rs 100-mark in different parts of the country, said a media report.

The retail onion prices started rising from the last week of October after witnessing a hike for a few days in September and this week, it touched Rs 100 per kilogram in several locations across major cities in the country, said a report in News18.

Prices in Nashik’s Lasalgaon market — Asia’s largest wholesale onion market — touched Rs 5,500 per quintal on Monday, which is the highest since August 2015, the report said.

 Onion prices reaches Rs 100-mark, wholesale rates hit 4-year high as heavy rain affects production

Representational image. Reuters

In Delhi, the retail price of onion rose by 45 percent in the past week to Rs 80/kg. The rate stood at Rs 55/kg on 1 October, according to an official data.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleging that people are being compelled to buy onion at the price of Rs 80-100/kg.

In Madhya Pradesh, which is also an onion producing state, onion prices continued to remain range of Rs 70 to 80 per kg despite stock limits imposed by the government on traders, reported PTI. 

By November, fresh onion crop reaches the market, but heavy rains this year have damaged or delayed the arrival of fresh yield, said Omkar Sahu, a wholesaler at Karond Mandi in Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh.

The prices have come down compared to the last month but the supply has not increased much, said Sahu.

"Retailers are selling onions at Rs 70 to Rs 80 per kg, depending on quality. This is because of short supply," said Hemant Advani, a vegetable shop owner in Bhopal.

'Onion prices rise due to dip in domestic production'

On Wednesday, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that onion prices shot up to Rs 80/kg in the retail market due to 30-40 percent decline in domestic production and the government was taking all steps to contain the price rise.

"We have reviewed the onion availability and price situation. Prices have gone up as production (kharif onion) has declined by 30-40 percent in the country," Paswan said.

There was a delay in sowing of kharif onion because of late arrival of monsoon and later floods in many states damaged the crop, he said.

Stating that prices fluctuate depending on supply-demand, Paswan said currently, there is mismatch in this. However, the government is taking measures to improve availability and check prices.

"We are concerned about the situation and the government is trying its best. We have taken maximum steps," he said.
Asked when the prices will cool down, Paswan said, "I am not an astrologer but it should hopefully come down by end of November or beginning December."

He also appealed consumers and media to give suggestions to address the current crisis.

Highlighting measures, Paswan said the government has banned the export of raw and processed onions, imposed stock holding limits on traders besides offloading buffer stock at a cheaper rate of Rs 23.90 per kg to provide relief to consumers.

Govt to facilitate private import 

On Wednesday, the Agriculture Ministry relaxed fumigation norms for imported onions up to 30 November in a bid to improve domestic supply and check prices that have skyrocketed up to Rs 80/kg.

The fumigation provisions have been liberalised as the government has decided to facilitate private import of the key kitchen staple from Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran to boost the availability and check price rise.

"In the light of public concern over high prices of onions in the market, the Agriculture Ministry has decided to allow relaxation from the condition of fumigation and endorsement on PSC as per the Plant Quarantine (PQ) Order, 2003 for onion imports up to 30 November, 2019," an official statement said.

With PTI inputs

Updated Date: Nov 07, 2019 17:49:05 IST