Lasalgaon onion prices near record high as rains hit supply

Mumbai: Wholesale prices of onion have risen by nearly a third in the past one week as heavy rains across key growing regions of Maharashtra raised concerns over supply, traders said.

At Lasalgaon, the vegetable on Friday averaged Rs 4,351 per 100 kg, up nearly Rs 1,100 from Oct 24, said an official with the Agricultural Produce Market Committee. Also, the market has seen little activity in the past few days due to Diwali holidays.

The prices are at a striking distance of an all-time high of Rs 4,593 per 100 kg hit in September 2013 at Lasalgaon market.

In Yeola market yard, onion averaged Rs 4,500 per 100 kg.

"Onion supply from Maharashtra and south India is likely to remain much lower than expected due to heavy damage to crops which was in growth stage and about to be harvested this month," said a dealer with an export firm in Ambad of Nashik district.

Daily arrivals at Lasalgaon have fallen from 500-550 tn in mid-October to around 150 tn, data of the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation showed.

According to Indian Meteorological Department, onion-belt of Madhya Maharashtra received 172% above the normal rains in October. Rainfall in Marathwada was even higher at 213% above normal for the same period. This led to significant damage to other kharif crops such soybean, cotton and maize also, traders said.

On Sep 19, prices at Lasalgaon had hit Rs 4,500 per 100 kg after which the government imposed a series of curbs, including a hike a ban on exports and imposition of stock limits on traders. These eventually dragged prices to Rs 2,800-3,000 per 100 kg by early October.

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