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Farmers warn of onion glut in two months

According to traders, onion imports will be feasible till end of January.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 09, 2019, 09.55 AM IST
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Agencies
Onion
Exports can start only from the second week of February and that too with MEP against letter of credit as by then the trade expects prices to crash.
Pune: The record high prices of onions will encourage large-scale cultivation of the crop in the next season, farmers and traders said.

Onion prices have soared to ₹200 a kg from ₹25 a kg as heavy rains at the fag end of the monsoon season flooded onion fields, leading to much lower supply in the market.

According to traders, onion imports will be feasible till end of January. Exports can start only from the second week of February and that too with MEP against letter of credit as by then the trade expects prices to crash.

“Area under rabi onion will jump substantially as farmers have not ever seen such high onion prices,” said Jayadatta Holkar, director of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) at Lasalgaon, the biggest hub of onion trade.

“The government will have to prepare to reverse the policies so as to actually begin exports from February onwards.”

Raju Shetty, founder of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana, has criticised the government's decision to import onions: “We are not against imports but its timing is wrong. The onion that the government is importing now will reach India when local arrivals will be high. Onion farmers have incurred heavy losses during past two years and it will be fair to let them recover their losses.”

Onion supply across the country on December 5 this year was 117,000 quintal against daily arrival of 3,00,000-3,50,000 quintal during the year-ago period. Daily arrivals at Lasalgaon are about 5,000 quintal with prices ranging between ₹25/kg and ₹100/kg depending on the grade. At Solapur APMC, arrivals more than doubled on Saturday as news of highest prices spread.

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“About 60 per cent of the onion that is coming to the market is getting a rate of ₹70/kg to ₹80/kg,” said Mohan Nimbalkar, secretary, Solapur APMC.

He said farmers are employing extra manpower to harvest the tuber, which would have otherwise come to the market in January, to take benefit from the prevailing high prices.

Third-generation onion trader Danish Shah said prices will rule between ₹80 and ₹110 a kg in the wholesale market for the next 15 days.

“By the first half of January, it will be ₹50-80/kg. In the second half of January, it is likely to be ₹35-60 a kg. By February, prices will be around ₹20-30/kg with downward trend and excellent arrivals,” said Shah.

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