Onions may cost Rs 100 per kg in coming weeks: Retailers

Retailers claim scanty rainfall in Central Maharashtra and Marathwada has affected the production of the crop drastically, resulting in poor supply and spiralling prices of the veggie

Adding to the misery of a poor monsoon, skyrocketing prices of onions are sure to bring more tears to the eyes of the common man. Retailers claimed that in the coming weeks, the price might reach Rs 100 per kg, from the existing Rs 60-Rs 70 per kg. At present, onions are sold at Rs 45-48 per kg in the wholesale market.

The APMC market in Vashi received 72 truckloads of onions yesterday in comparison to 115 on Tuesday
The APMC market in Vashi received 72 truckloads of onions yesterday in comparison to 115 on Tuesday

Officials from Indian weather forecast company Skymet claimed that since June, Central Maharashtra and Marathwada have experienced rain deficiency of about 33% and 40% respectively. Large-scale onion production in the state occurs in these regions that include Pune and Nashik district.

Skymet officials blamed change in weather cycle in the Pacific Ocean for poor rainfall in the state. According to them, formation of El Nino, a weather cycle that occurs in Eastern Pacific region, results in scanty rainfall in Southeast Asia.

Speaking to mid-day, Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist at Skymet, said, “Due to formation of El Nino this year, moisture has been pulled away by the Eastern Pacific region.

This has affected rainfall in some states, including Maharashtra. Central Maharashtra and Marathwada have recorded [rain] deficiency and the situation is likely to remain the same. No predictions of heavy rainfall in these regions for this year. Formation of El Nino, back-to-back, is a rare phenomenon. It had appeared last year too,” Palawat said.

Production delayed
“Onion production in Nashik, Junnar and Pune commences soon after the arrival of monsoon. The situation is bad this year, as scanty rainfall has taken its toll on the crop. If it doesn’t rain in September, it will have a cascading effect on the supply and prices,” said Babaji Dhumal, onion trader at Vashi APMC.

The onion stock coming to city markets at present is being supplied using the stock that was compiled earlier and will last only till October-November. This crop was harvested in the month of April. The APMC market in Vashi received 72 truckloads of onions yesterday in comparison to 115 on Tuesday.

Centre steps in
Prices of Onions at Lasalgaon Asia’s biggest wholesale market for onions climbed to Rs 45 per kg yesterday, which could bump up retail prices across the country. About 4,000 quintals arrived at the mandi yesterday, as against over 16,885 quintals during the same period in 2014.

In order to keep prices of onions in check and ensure higher supplies, Centre-owned Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) has been asked to float a global tender for importing 10,000 tonnes of onions shortly, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Rs 45-Rs 48
Price per kg of onions at wholesale market

Rs 60-Rs 70
Retail price of onions per kg

115
No of trucks that delivered onions to Vashi APMC on Tuesday

72
No of trucks that delivered onions to the APMC market yesterday

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