Onion prices are likely to remain high the next two weeks. A spurt from Rs 355 a quintal last year to a heady Rs 2,225 at Lasalgaon Agriculture Production Market Committee, the biggest onion trading hub in the state, has meant the vegetable is now selling at Rs 23-35 a kg in Mumbai.
Drought-like conditions in the state have resulted in a drop in production. This, coupled with alleged hoarding by traders, may shoot up prices in the next few days till Rangda, the late kharif crop, enters market in the next 15 days.
“Production in major cultivating areas such as Sinnar and Chandwad has fallen sharply due to water shortage,” Dashrath Chaudhary, an onion farmer at Niphad in Nashik district, said.
Maharashtra produces nearly 30 per cent of all onion grown in India with Nashik contributing nearly 50 per cent of it.
Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium has forecast a decline in output by 30 per cent.
“Drought is one of the major reasons for the rise in prices. I am, however, confident in the next few weeks prices will stabilise with the market entry of Rangda,” former vice-chairman of National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation Changdeo Holkar said.
Industry watchers said the increase in price could be due to hoarding by traders.
“There is enough onion to keep prices in control. Traders are hoarding to inflate prices,” social activist and agriculture expert Giridhar Patil said.
Pol, Rangda and Gavthi
Onion is produced thrice a year in Maharashtra from October to April. Three types of onions are produced in the state
Pol: This is the onion, a kharip crop, that is being sold in the market at present. The produce is of inferior quality, has a low yield and cannot be stored for long. It represents 20 per cent of the onion crop in the state. Planted during May-June and harvested during October-November, this crop has been affected by drought, raising prices
Rangda: The late kharif crop has started entering the market. It is of better quality than pol and represents 20 per cent of the onion crop in the state. It is planted during August-September and harvested during January-February. This crop has not been affected much by deficit rain and its entry in market by February 15 will put the brakes on prices
Gavthi: It is a rabi crop that has high yield. The best quality onion can be stored for close to six months. This crop represents