NOT withstanding the recent slide in onion prices in the wholesale markets, export of the bulb seems to have been bullish so far this year. Records published by the Nashik-based National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) showed that 13,56,381.48 metric tonnes (MT) of onions have been exported till September this year. This is a significant rise as compared to the 11,14,418.13 MT export of the vegetable in 2015. Although only about 10 per cent of the onion grown in the country has been exported, the figure is important to keep the price parity in wholesale markets.
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Over the past several months, onions were being sold at Rs 7 per kg in the Lasalgaon wholesale market here, causing losses to the growers.
Last year, the average price of the produce in the same market was Rs 20 per kg. Excess production, especially in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, has been cited as the reason for the present glut, which had ensured that the prices remain subdued throughout the year.
Earlier this year, the price of the bulb had touched an all-time low at Lasalgaon market as it was being traded at Rs 4.25 per kg — a record low in the last five years. In order to boost the price, the Central government had announced a 6 per cent export subsidy, which had helped in pushing some of the produce out of India.
Jagdish Apsunde, an exporter from Nashik, said, at present, the Indian onions have good prices in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. “The minimum export price (MRP) is at zero and arrival of the bulb in the market is good. These two factors have at least ensured steady exports,” he said. The export figures this year have surpassed the exports in the last two years. Apsunde said the Centre has been forthwith in settling subsidy claims, which has also helped exports.
Nanasaheb Patil, director of Lasalgaon’s wholesale market, said steady exports have helped in holding the local prices. “However, I feel the prices of onion at the wholesale markets will come down as soon as the bumper arrival of late kharif crop happens,” he said.