Onion prices across wholesale markets in Nashik have recorded a steep rise as reports of extensive damage to the standing crop have started coming in. Market sources said the price rise will continue for the days to come as the arrival of the next kharif crop would be significantly delayed.
On Monday, onion markets across Nashik district witnessed a bull run that took them by surprise. The average traded price of the bulb in most markets was around Rs 5,600 to Rs 5,700 per quintal. Suresh Deshmukh, a commission agent operating out of Dindori Mandi in Nashik district, said farmers were holding onto stored onions in hope for further price escalation. “Arrivals have tanked and the demand-supply mismatch has pushed up prices,” he said.
Traders from Lasalgaon, who hinted at indefinite closure of their market following raids by income tax officials, were also back in business on Monday.
Escalating onion prices have caught the government’s attention with several measures being put in place to control the same. Exports were banned earlier in the year even as the central government amended the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, to delink onions, potatoes, pulses, oilseeds, and edible oil from the purview of the Act, on September 22. Ban on exports did not have a desired effect as prices continue to rise with market sources saying the destruction of kharif crop in Karnataka due to heavy rain in September was the main reason for the price rise.
Deshmukh and other traders said while the present price hike would continue till the end of November, the arrival of the new kharif crop was expected to be delayed.
Since the past two days, Nashik has reported heavy rain that has damaged the standing onion crop in the district. “Farmers from Kalwan, Malegaon have reported heavy losses to crop that was to be harvested in the next few days,” Deshmukh said, adding that the crop would now arrive towards the end of November or early December.
In the run-up to Diwali, onion prices are expected to rally further as demand from north Indian markets like Delhi and Punjab is expected to further rise. “We expect onion prices to cross Rs 100 per kg mark in some time,” traders said.
Unavailability of imported onions has also hit the domestic markets. The few containers from Iran arriving at the Mumbai port are headed straight to south Indian markets, where they are mainly used by hotels and catering sectors.
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