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Disruptions in market arrival of kharif crop due to extended monsoon in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat has compounded Congresss worries with onion prices heading north even as four states in the Hindi heartland go to polls. The situation, however, is likely to improve by polling dates with harvesting picking up in most kharif crop-producing states.
The reason for the recent rise in the prices of onion may be extended rain in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which reduced market arrivals. The increased demand due to festive season has further added to the price rise, a status note on price rise prepared by the Department of Consumer Affairs says.
In fact, with monsoon finally withdrawing, the note indicated that supplies will begin returning to normal by the end of this month itself.
Harvesting of kharif onion in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu is in full swing and coming in markets of Bangalore, Hubli, Hassan, Dhavengere, Bijapur and Belgaum of Karnataka and Kurnool and Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Bangalore market is daily getting fresh produce of around 7,000-10,000 tonne onion per day, the status note says, indicating the arrivals from major onion producer Maharashtra will increase from end of October.
The harvesting of kharif onion has also started in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh but the quantity arrival is very less and expected to increase from end of October onwards, indicates the note.
While the planting of crop in Maharashtra was good, the harvesting was disrupted because of the rain that continued till Dussehra. This has disrupted the supply. With weather getting clear and moisture levels going down, supplies from Maharashtra will pick up in next 15 days, C B Holkar, Director at the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), told The Indian Express.
However, this supply disruption of kharif onion mounted pressure on the domestic prices because of the depletion of the rabi crop stocks that meets the demand till the arrival of new crop by October.
The period from July to September-October is a lean period for production of onion and demand is met mainly from the stored onion crop. Presently, around 0.30 to 0.40 lakh metric tonne stored onions are available for consumption, Krishi Bhavan note revealed Tuesday.
In fact, the rabi stocks were estimated at 9-10 lakh tonne at the beginning of August, when the prices first began to rise. Going by this statistics, the stocks remained available till October