Trade demands opening up of onion exports as prices slide rapidly

Onion prices have been ruling around Rs 100 a kg in retail for close to three months as excess unseasonal rainfall damaged the delicate crop across the country. On Thursday, medium quality onion was selling at Rs 25/kg in retail in Maharashtra. On Monday, wholesale prices fell to an average of Rs 23 a kg. Last Updated: Jan 29, 2020, 12.18 PM IST|Original: Jan 29, 2020, 12.18 PM ISTPTIIn Delhi, wholesale prices are in the range of Rs 20-40 per kg. PUNE: Onion traders have written to the commerce ministry, seeking to lift the ban on exports of the bulb vegetable after prices crashed 35% at the Lasalgaon wholesale market in Maharashtra this week

Onion prices have been ruling around Rs 100 a kg in retail for close to three months as excess unseasonal rainfall damaged the delicate crop across the country. On Thursday, medium quality onion was selling at Rs 25/kg in retail in Maharashtra.

On Monday, wholesale prices fell to an average of Rs 23 a kg. On Tuesday, onion was trading between Rs 10 and Rs 30 a kg in Lasalgaon, with the average price of around Rs 24.

The average wholesale price in Mumbai has declined from Rs 55 a kg on January 1 to Rs 30 Tuesday. In Delhi, wholesale prices are in the range of Rs 20-40 per kg.

India has banned onion exports since October 2019 to ease domestic prices. Now, the Onion Exporters’ Association of India has written to the commerce ministry about the need to restart shipments. Trade veterans believe that there could be a chaos in March-April if exports did not begin by mid-February, as heavy arrivals could bring the prices crashing down.

“The arrivals are growing every day and the areas sown under onions have also increased due to good prices. If we do not open exports on time, then the onion prices can come under great pressure,” association president Ajit Shah said.

Even traders in the wholesale markets have started getting alarmed with the growing arrivals.

“From just about 4,000 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes per day, the arrivals have increased to about 20,000 tonnes per day at the Lasalgaon market. If the trend continues, the arrivals can increase to beyond our capacity to handle them,” said Jayadatta Holkar, a former chairman of the Lasalgaon APMC. Trade will need time to get export orders post the lifting of export ban, he added.

Arrival of imported onions has stopped already and there are reports that some imported yellow onion was still lying at the ports. “Consumers do not like the imported onion, especially after the freshly harvested red onion from the domestic crop has become available,” said Sambhaji Zende, an artiya (middleman) who has been trading in onions for close to three decades.
Also ReadOf cabbages and kings, onions and GDPOnion leads the rallyOnion extends gainsGovt considering lifting ban on onion exportsOnion prices may stay firm on low importsCommenting feature is disabled in your country/region.Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service

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