India’s onion output is estimated to touch a new record at 203 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 crop year as favourable weather and better prices boosted acreage and crop yields, a government research body has said.
Onion output had dropped to 189.2 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) due to poor rains. The previous record was 194 lakh tonnes in 2013-14.
“Onion production is going to be a record at 203 lakh tonnes this year. Better prices during the kharif (summer) season encouraged farmers to bring more area under onion in the rabi (winter) season,” National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Director R P Gupta told PTI.
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Favourable climatic conditions have also encouraged the rabi crop prospects and yields are expected to be better than last year, he said, adding unlike last year, there were no unseasonal rains and hailstorm this time.
Onion has been grown in 12 lakh hectare this year, slightly higher than 11.73 lakh hectare last year.
Stating that rabi onion crop condition is good at present, the NHRDF chief said total rabi output is estimated to be higher by 15-20 per cent as compared to year ago.
“The harvesting of rabi crop started in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It is only rabi onion which is stored for use in lean season. Farmers and traders have started storage of onion,” Gupta said.
Around 45 lakh tonnes of expected to be stored in the current year due to availability of good quality of onion bulb in the market, he added.
On prices, Gupta said farmers are getting an average Rs 8 per kg in Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia’s biggest wholesale market for onion and earning minimum 20 per cent profit over the cost of production.
Nearly 60 per cent of India’s annual output comes from the rabi season, while the kharif and late-kharif sowing seasons contribute 20 per cent each.
Rabi onion is grown in almost all states, but major growing states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh.