Tribune News Service
Mumbai, December 11
Wholesale prices of onions, which touched Rs 80 per kg for some varieties earlier this month, have begun to soften following a surge in new arrivals.
According to information available from the Lasalgaon market in Nashik district, the country’s main hub for the trade in the bulb, prices for average quality onion fell to Rs 38 per kilogramme this morning.
“We have received nearly 900 tonnes of onions till Wednesday afternoon,” Ashok Shetye, a trader from the Lasalgoan mandi told this reporter.
The supply was less than half till last weekend.
Traders at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee market at Navi Mumbai said farmers were harvesting their crop prematurely in order to benefit from the rise in onion prices.
“Prices were showing signs of coming down as large quantities of premature onions began coming into
the market for the past few days,” Samadhan Sanap, a Mumbai onion trader said.
The onions coming into the market now are red onions which are harvested in winter in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. These onions have a short shelf life.
Onion arrivals are expected to surge in the coming days with reports of trucks being loaded with the bulb heading for Mumbai and other parts of the country, according to traders.
The wholesale prices of onions had crashed last year to just one rupee a kilogramme after arrivals in the markets fell to 2500 tonnes per day, according to traders.
Meanwhile, the first consignments of 740 tonnes onions being imported from Egypt is expected to touch Mumbai on Sunday.
According to traders here, orders to import at least two more shiploads from the African country have been placed.
Farmers’ groups in Maharashtra had criticised the government move to import onions when retail prices touched Rs 150 per kilogramme.
“The imported onions will begin arriving and supplies from India also begin to increase. This will prevent farmers from getting a fair price for their produce,” farm leader Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana had told reporters last week.
Meanwhile, retail prices of onions continue to remain high as traders are still offloading their existing stock.
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