New Delhi: Onion prices, retailing at Rs 80/kg, will soon start coming down with the arrival of fresh crop from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today.
Although the kharif output is likely to be lower this year, the government is taking concrete steps to boost supplies and curb further rise in prices, he said.
Besides imports, the availability of onions is being improved in the country through direct sourcing of the crop from farmers for distribution in consuming areas, he added.
“We have requested Maharashtra government to procure 10,000 tonnes on behalf of the Government of India for distribution in Delhi and other cities,” Paswan told reporters after reviewing the situation arising from high onion and tomato prices.
He said tomato prices will also start easing as supplies increase. Tomatoes are retailing at Rs 60-70/kg.
Paswan further said that the Delhi government has been told to consider Nafed’s proposal to procure onions for distribution through ration shops in the national capital.
Price rise in onions is a matter of concern, he said, adding that the central government is monitoring rates on a daily basis and even the Delhi government has formed an enfo rcement team for the same, he added.
Asked by when the prices will come down, Paswan said: “We have seen some price correction in wholesale rates at Lasalgoan in Maharashtra”, Asia’s biggest market for onions.
The onion rates at Lasalgoan, which sends price signal to other cities, have come down to Rs 32/kg from Rs 36/kg in the last 2-3 days, he said.
“There will be further price correction once the arrival is in full swing from these two states in Delhi mandis,” he said, adding that prices are driven by supply-demand fundamentals and his ministry has limited role to play.
However to boost local supply, Paswan said Nafed and SFAC have been asked to source 12,000 tonnes of onion locally from producing states and distribute in consuming areas. Nafed has already procured 1,000 tonnes so far.
State-owned MMTC has already floated a tender for import of 2,000 tonnes of onions.
The imposition of USD 850 per tonne minimum export price on onion has brought down daily outbound shipments to 137 tonnes on November 18 from 4,150 tonnes on November 13 of this year, he said.
Also, the stock limit on holding onion stock on traders has been extended till December-end to curb hoarding.
Paswan also shared that total area sown to onions during the kharif season of this year has been lower at 1.90 lakh hectare from 2.36 lakh hectare a year ago, indicating likely drop in the output.