Onion prices continue to rule high at Rs 70-80/kg

Onion prices continue to rule high at Rs 70-80/kg

A worker sits on gunny bags filled with onions at a wholesale vegetable market in New Delhi on September 25, 2019. (AFP)

Retail prices of onion continued to remain high at Rs 70-80 per kg on Wednesday in the national capital and other parts of the country despite government measures to boost supply of the key kitchen staple.

As per data maintained by the consumer affairs ministry, retail onion price was ruling at Rs 60/kg in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow. It was being sold at Rs 58/kg in Mumbai and Rs 42/kg in Chennai. In Kanpur, onion prices were at Rs 70/kg and at Rs 80/kg in Port Blair.

However, trade data showed retail onion prices ruling in the range of Rs 70-80 per kg in most parts of the country, depending on quality and region.

Onion prices have been on the rise for the last one month due to supply disruption from flood-affected producing states like Maharasthra. Prices have risen sharply in the last few days due to heavy rains in the key growing states.

"Centre has adequate stock of onion and asked state governments to take as much onion they want," Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan tweeted on Wednesday.

The Centre is improving supply in the domestic market by offloading its buffer stock.

The buffer stock stands at about 50,000 tonnes, out of which 15,000 tonnes have been released through agencies like Nafed, NCCF and Mother Dairy's Safal outlets.

Paswan said the Centre has so far released 1,850 tonnes of onion to Tripura, 2,000 tonnes to Haryana and 960 tonnes to Andhra Pradesh at the rate of Rs 15.59 per kg. These states will sell onion to consumers at a maximum rate of Rs 23.90/kg.

"Delhi government has requested for 100 tonnes of onion per day for 5 days from 28th of September. We will provide required quantity of onion to Delhi," Paswan tweeted.

The Centre is ready to provide onion to all states as per their requirement at Rs 15.59 per kg, he added.

On Tuesday, the minister had indicated that the government will consider imposing stock limit on traders if the current high price situation continues in the coming days.

The Centre has taken several measures to arrest the prices of onion in Delhi and other parts of the country. It is offloading onion from its buffer stock through agencies like Nafed and National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF), discouraged exports of onion by increasing the minimum export price and has withdrawn incentives. It is also cracking down on black marketeers.

At present, stored onion is being sold in most parts of the country and fresh Kharif (summer) crop will hit the markets from November onwards, traders said.

They further said there is enough supply of stored onion (previous year's crop) but its transportation has been affected due to heavy rains.

Prices have also picked up on a likely fall in Kharif output owing to the lower planted area following excess rains, according to sources.

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