Mumbai: Onion prices nosedive due to surplus supply

Mumbai: Onion rates have nosedived since the past month following surplus and better quality crop in other states. Previously, Nashik in Maharashtra had a monopoly over this tuber crop. In Lasalgaon, Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), the biggest onion market in the world,  rates for the red variety of onion on Tuesday were average Rs 679 per quintal compared to the average rate of Rs 1200 per quintal on 30 November.

Leading onion merchant and exporter Sachin Brahmecha said that the price glut was a simple function of the principle of economics. “The supply is more and the demand is less, especially in export markets. Other states too, have a bumper crop and have begun exporting,” he said.

Chandwad APMC Chairman Dr Atmaram Kumbharde said that, if the average price is over Rs 800 per quintal, the farmers get a marginal profit. “Any rate below Rs 800 per quintal is a loss. Earlier Maharashtra due to Nashik district enjoyed a complete monopoly over the lucrative onion market.”

“The soil, climate and other factors in Nashik district give a bumper onion harvest. Later states like MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP, AP, Karnataka began onion cultivation. Today they have begun exporting. Their yield is good and the onion is bigger and of better quality,” Dr Kumbharde said.

Former Shetkari Sanghatna activist and senior lawyer Adv Nanasaheb Jadhav said that the onion issue would continue to simmer unless the Government comes out with an unambiguous policy. “During certain seasons, there is an onion surplus and farmers are forced to throw away their crop. During other seasons, there is a severe shortage of onion and consumers have to pay a heavy price.

This cycle is continuing for decades. The Government should do something,” Adv Jadhav urged. He also said he was willing to draft an onion policy along with experts if the Government asked him.

Price per quintal

Date    Min      Max     Ave

30 Nov            600      1711    1200

01 Dec 500      1600    0951

05 Dec 500      1170    0800

09 Dec 500      1158    0900

13 Dec 525      1111    0901

14 Dec 521      1129    0850

15 Dec 525      1026    0750

19 Dec 401      0861    0675

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