Wholesale onion prices fall to Rs 48/kg at Lasalgaon

Wholesale onion prices fall to Rs 48/kg at Lasalgaon

Onion prices in wholesale market at Lasalgaon in Maharasthra, Asia's biggest onion market, have declined further to Rs 48 per kg today from Rs 57 last week due to improvement in supply, the government said today while allaying fears of production fall this year.

Onion prices in both retail and wholesale markets have shot up unabated in the last few weeks due to estimated fall in production in the 2014-15 crop year by five lakh tonnes.

The likely fall in this year's production due to deficit rains in key growing areas was also fueling the price rise.

Retail prices have gone up to Rs 80 per kg across the country.

"We reviewed the availability of onion and pulses. The Agriculture Department has informed that though onion production has been slightly less in Maharashtra, it has increased in Madhya Pradesh and the production this year is likely to be the same as last year," Consumer Affairs Secretary C Viswanath told PTI after the meeting.

He also said that improved arrival of onion has brought down the wholesale price to Rs 48 per kg at Lasalgaon in Maharasthra, while increase in supply of fresh crop into Delhi markets from Karnataka has eased the wholesale price to Rs 41 per kg at Azadpur mandi in the national capital.

In the 2014-15 crop year (July-June), the country’s total onion production had declined to 18.92 million tonnes from 19.4 million tonnes in the previous year.Currently, the early kharif onion crop is being harvested in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Harvesting in Maharashtra, the country’s biggest onion growing state, would start from October-November.

Senior officials from the Union Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Ministries, SFAC, NAFED and Mother Dairy were present in the meeting.

In the price-sensitive Delhi market, the Secretary said that the central agency SFAC is boosting supply through Mother Dairy’s Safal outlets and 120 booths of Delhi Milk Scheme.

Onions are being sold at subsidised rate at Rs 38 per kg at Safal's 390 outlets, at Rs 35 per kg at DMS booths, while the Delhi government is selling them at Rs 30 per kg at fair price shops.

"It was also informed that joint teams of Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Consumer Affairs are regularly inspecting all the outlets to ensure availability of onion," the Secretary added.

Besides onion, prices and availability of pulses were also reviewed. The officials also deliberated on distribution of imported pulses to states to check prices.

The Secretary said that the state governments have been asked to avail the subsidy of Rs 10 per kg to be provided on imported tur and urad dals. The states have been asked to provide their requirement so that they could lift the stocks accordingly.

The Price Stabilisation Fund Monitoring Committee, headed by Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain, recently recommended Rs 10 per kg subsidy to state governments on imported tur and urad expected to arrive by September 2.

Apart from onion, pulses prices have also risen sharply in the last few months due to production shortage in the country. Retail prices of pulses have gone up by over Rs 150 per kg in most parts of the country.

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