Wholesale prices of onion in Nashik district, which is the onion belt of Maharashtra, crossed Rs 2,000 per quintal mark on Tuesday as reports of massive crop damage emerged from the neighbouring state of Karnataka. The present prices are the highest recorded this year with trade sources confirming of further rise in the days to come.
Since August 8, average trade prices of the kitchen staple across mandis in Nashik have shown an upward trajectory, and the same has doubled in the last month or so. At Lasalgaon’s wholesale market in Niphad taluka of the district, prices have been over the Rs 2,000 per quintal mark since September 3 and is on the rise. On Wednesday, the average traded price crossed Rs 2,500 per quintal in Lasalgaon market while in the neighbouring taluka of Yeola, it was Rs 2,400. Most markets have reported similar trend in the last month.
The present trend, said Suresh Deshmukh, a commission agent operating out of Dindori’s wholesale market in Nashik district, was mostly due to the heavy rain in August. The monsoon rain, Deshmukh added has caused extensive damage to the almost market-ready kharif crop in Karnataka. He explained that the crop is planted in April and harvested in September well before the kharif of Maharashtra hits the markets in November.
Ironically, the country had reported a bumper rabi or summer crop as farmers grew the bulb on over 9 lakh hectares (lh) as against the 7.50 lh last season. The bumper crop had pushed down the prices since May, which had seen onion growers complaining of price crash. The coronavirus outbreak-induced lockdown had seen a dip in demand as industrial usage in terms of hotels and food processing industry had come to a grinding halt.
Demands both international and domestic markets have increased, which has seen prices rising in mandis. At retail markets, prices have risen in the last month with urban centres like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune have appreciated from Rs 20 to Rs 30 per kg. More appreciation is expected ahead as supply is likely to remain constrained in the days to come.
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