Onion supply dips,prices up 352%

Farmers blame drought,hoarders for price rise

Written by ZEESHAN SHAIKH | Mumbai | Published: August 14, 2013 1:28 am

The Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) this month saw a 22-per cent fall in supply of onions,which has resulted in a 352-per cent increase in its wholesale price in Mumbai.

Till August 13 last year,the Vashi APMC received 83,850 quintals of onion. In the corresponding period this year,supplies dropped to 64,850 quintals. The cost shot up from an average of Rs 755 a quintal last year to an average of Rs 3,417 per quintal this year.

The wholesale price this month peaked at Rs 51.50 per kg on Monday,before dropping to Rs 46 per kg by the end of Tuesday.

“Prices are high due to poor crop yield in the state. They are likely to remain high till October when the kharif crop comes into the market,” said Ashok Valunj,Vashi APMC’s head of the onion and potato section.

Maharashtra is the country’s top onion producer,contributing nearly 28 per cent of the total supply. Overall,onion production in the country dipped this year due to drought and inclement weather. In 2012-13,the total onion production in the country fell by 4.89 per cent. The output in Maharashtra,however,plunged 15.81 per cent.

“There is a definite shortage in the market. Traders who have stocked onions are exploiting the market,knowing that new produce is not going to enter the market before October,” said Narendra Kor,an onion farmer from Lasalgaon,the country’s largest APMC said.

In July this year,the Vashi APMC received 1.88 lakh quintals of onion,19.94 per cent less than the what it received in July 2012. Prices rose 213 per cent from an average of Rs 703 a quintal in July 2012 to Rs 2,194 in July 2013.

State agriculture department officials said they were prepared to crack down on hoarders. “Vigilance squads are in place to check hoarding,” said a senior official.

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