Govt not to interfere in controlling rates

The Karnataka government on Wednesday ruled out its intervention to control rising onion prices in State.

Horticulture Minister Shamanur Shivashankarappa and Principal Secretary to Horticulture Department M K Shankaralinge Gowda said here on Wednesday that the government can intervene only in the event crash in the prices of agricultural or horticultural produce by declaring support prices, and not the other way.

On onions from Karnataka going outside the State, they said the government cannot restrict inter-state movement of goods.

In Bangalore, the price of good quality onion is hovering at  Rs 60 per kg in the retail market.

Gowda said the present surge in onion prices was on account of decline in production in Maharashtra. The Union Horticulture Secretary has convened a meeting of principal secretaries to Horticulture departments of onion-growing states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on October 25 to discuss the issue.

He said 85 per cent of the State’s total production is harvested in October - November. This crop is sown during kharif season. Due to high moisture content the produce has a shelf life of one month. As a result, the Karnataka has to depend on neighbouring Maharashtra for most of its onion demand for a major part of the year (February to September). In Maharashtra, onion is sown during winter and harvested in summer. The yield can be preserved for a much longer period (because of the dry season).

“ We are exploring the possibility of evenly spreading out onion harvest in the State. We will find a variety that could be sowed during the rabi season and harvested during summer”, Gowda disclosed.

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