At least 40 per cent of the summer onion produce has been destroyed due to the recent hailstorm, the latest survey of the state agriculture department said. Officers now fear a price rise due to a shortage of the produce.
Onion prices had skyrocketed last year due to failure of the summer crop and the drought situation that had prevailed the previous year. Onion prices had touched as high as Rs 6,000 per quintal, with the product selling at Rs 100 per kg in retail market. The prices had subsequently fallen and stabilised at Rs 10-20 per kg in retail markets.
Last year’s price rise, officials pointed out, had resulted in a substantial increase in the onion producing areas of the state. Surveys point out that between December and March, the area under onion went up by 1 lakh hectares.
However, unseasonal and heavy hailstorms that lashed the state last month have damaged the crop. Survey showed 40 per cent of the crop was destroyed in the first two weeks of March. The destruction was mostly felt in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. The hailstorms hit the regions when the crop was ready for harvest. “In many cases, the crop had been harvested and kept in the fields waiting to be transported to the storage units,” added the official. On Wednesday, the wholesale price of onion ranged between
Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 per quintal.