Strict orders notwithstanding, wholesale prices of onions across the markets in Nashik have remained above the Rs 2,000-mark. According to market sources, the prices are expected to be within this range for some time as there has been an almost 60 per cent-dip in onion production in the neighbouring Karnataka.
In view of the rise in onion prices in retail markets across the country, the central government had urged the state to investigate the cause of the rise. The district deputy registrar was directed to conduct an inquiry in the matter. Accordingly, the district collector of Nashik held a meeting with the traders and representatives of the various market committees and suggested that they forgo the traditional week-long Diwali break, which is supposed to start from Monday. The move aimed at stopping the escalation of onion prices.
However, farmer organisations rejected the suggestion, saying that this was “intentionally done to reduce the prices”. Dipak Pagar, leader of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana and director of the Nampur wholesale market, meanwhile warned of an agitation by farmers against the “anti-farmer policies of the central government”.
On Monday, the average modal price of trade was Rs 2,300 in Lasalagon market, with 1,500 quintals of onions arriving for trade. In the neighbouring Pimpalgaon market, the average price of trade was Rs 2,425, with 7,500 quintals arriving for auction. Sources attributed the low arrival to the festive season, when farmers normally refrain from coming to the market.
The present price trend, Jaydutt Holkar, chairman of the Lasalgaon’s wholesale market, said the price trend will continue till the new crop arrives. “Farmers have the bare minimum stock. However, the price rise is mainly because of the almost 60 per cent-dip reported in the kharif area from Karnataka,” he said. Maharashtra’s kharif onion, Holkar said, will start arriving post Diwali and, till then, the price rise is expected to continue.