Massive slump in onion prices

Massive slump in onion prices

The Centre’s move to discourage onion export by hiking the minimum export price (MEP) to $900 per tonne has paid off. In an immediate repercussion, price of the vegetable dropped drastically in two of the country’s leading onion markets.

Nashik market witnessed a massive drop of Rs 1,100 per quintal in the average wholesale price of onion during the trading hours on Friday, despite a marginal increase of 2,000 quintals in arrival.

At the country’s largest onion market in Lasalgaon, 220 km from Mumbai, trading began at Rs 5,451 per quintal. Following a drastic slump during the day, trading closed at Rs 4,350 per quintal. The minimum average was Rs 2,000 per quintal and the maximum Rs 4,350, with the total arrival being 5,500 quintal.

Sources in Nashik said fear of the government using the Essential Commodities Act to check hoarding and harvest of kharif onions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh led to Friday’s drop in wholesale onion prices.

On Thursday, there was a marginal decline of Rs 50 per quintal in the average wholesale price of onion. The day opened at Rs 5,501 per quintal and closed at Rs 5,541. Total arrival in the market was around 3,500 quintal.

Meanwhile, the drop in prices in the Hubli market in Karnataka saw farmers resorting to protests.

Hundreds of farmers blocked the NH-4 for more than four hours at the Amargol APMC yard. They protested the minimum price of Rs 100 and the maximum price of Rs 1,500 per quintal. It was a drastic slump from Thursday’s minimum of Rs 3,000 and maximum of Rs 4,700.

Hundreds of farmers from Belgaum, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gadag and other north Karnataka districts had brought their produce to Amargol, hoping for a good price.

But agents pegged the lowest price at Rs 100, saying that the Centre had stopped onion export and the produce brought to Amargol on Friday was of poor quality.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Parashu Madar from Nandihalli in Belgaum district said: “I had sold 200 bags of onion for Rs 4,200 per quintal on Thursday.

But today I sold 100 bags of the same quality for just Rs 1,500 per quintal. How can the price come down to such a low within 24 hours? It’s a conspiracy by the agents and APMC officials.”

APMC president Suresh Kiresur and DCP Subhash Gudimani tried to convince the farmers, but in vain. The protesters wanted the deputy commissioner to intervene.

The protest was called off after the assistant commissioner held a meeting with the farmers, agents and APMC office-bearers.

It was announced that on Saturday, onion will be purchased at a price fixed by other APMCs in the State.

Traffic between Hubli and Dharwad was affected. Thousands of commuters had to wait for hours to reach their destinations.

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