Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday said onion prices will ease in the next two-three weeks as fresh output arrives from Maharashtra and other states, providing relief to consumers.
"After talking to farmers and traders, my own assessment is that arrival of new kharif crop will increase substantially in next two-three weeks and prices will come down," Pawar said in an interview.
Supplies are also likely to improve as small quantities of imported onions have arrived, while outward shipments have slowed after a minimum export price was reimposed, he said.
Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, said his party was not responsible for hoarding in Maharashtra, the largest onion-growing state, which stores the maximum crop to cater to lean periods.
Onion prices have shot up sharply in both wholesale and retail markets across the country. In the national capital, the retail price of onions is currently as high as Rs 70-80 per kg compared with Rs 22 per kg a year earlier.
Pawar said the rise in onion prices has contributed to inflation, while prices of other food items such as rice and wheat have been stable.
Stating that onion prices are under pressure now due to heavy rains, Pawar said, "Harvesting of early kharif crop in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has begun, but rains have caused transporation problem."
Similarly, in the Nasik belt of Maharashtra, farmers are facing harvesting problems due to rains.
Pawar, who also held discussions with Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas, said the arrival of new kharif crop, which normally starts in the October-November period in Maharashtra and other states, will improve the supply and price situation in the next two-three weeks.