Onion supply comfortable in domestic market, retail prices stabilising: Govt

In a statement, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said sowing of onion crops is estimated to rise 27% in kharif (summer-sown) season.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 14:37 IST

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New Delhi: The government on Friday said the availability of onion in the domestic market is comfortable and retail prices are stabilising.

In a statement, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said sowing of onion crops is estimated to rise 27 per cent in kharif (summer-sown) season.

"Good and timely monsoon rains this year has provided big boost for kharif crops, including onion and other horticultural crops like tomato and potato," the ministry said.

As per the assessment of Ministry of Agriculture, the area targeted for kharif sowing of major vegetables namely, onion, tomato and potato has seen significant increase over last year.

"The availability of onion in the domestic market is comfortable notwithstanding marginally lower production of onion in rabi-2024 season as compared to the production last year," the statement said.

Onion crop is harvested in three seasons: rabi (winter-sown) in March-May; kharif (summer-sown) in September-November and late kharif in January-February.

In terms of production, rabi crop accounted for roughly 70 per cent of the total production while kharif and late kharif together constitute 30 per cent.

Kharif onion plays an important role in maintaining price stability during the lean months between rabi and peak kharif arrivals.

"The target area under kharif onion this year is 3.61 lakh hectare which is 27 per cent higher than last year," the ministry said.

In Karnataka, the top kharif onion producing state, sowing is completed in 30 per cent targeted area of 1.50 lakh hectare, and sowing is making progress in other major producing states also.

The onion currently available in the market is rabi-2024 crop, which was harvested during March-May 2024.

The government asserted that the estimated rabi-2024 production of 191 lakh tonne is sufficient to meet the domestic consumption of about 17 lakh tonne per month. Exports are pegged at 1 lakh tonne per month.

Dry weather conditions prevailing during and after rabi harvest this year is observed to have helped in lowering storage loss of onion, the statement said.

"Onion prices are stabilising as the quantity of rabi onion released in the market by farmers is increasing with higher mandi prices and onset of monsoon rains which increases the chances of storage loss due to high atmospheric moisture," the ministry said.

On potato, the government said it is essentially a rabi (winter-sown) crop but some quantities of kharif potatoes are produced in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Kharif potato harvest during September to November augments the availability in the market.

The area under Kharif potato this year is targeted to increase by 12 per cent over last year.

Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have covered almost the entire targeted sowing area while sowing in Karnataka and other states is in progress.

As per the government data, 273.2 lakh tonne of rabi potato had been stored in cold storage this year which is sufficient to meet the consumption demand.

"Prices of potato regulates the rate at which it’s released from the cold storages during the storage period from March to December," the statement said.

On tomatoes, the government said as per Ministry of Agriculture’s assessment, the targeted kharif tomato area this year is 2.72 lakh hectare as against 2.67 lakh hectare sown last year.

"Crop conditions are reported to be good in major producing areas of Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh and Kolar in Karnataka. In Kolar, picking of tomatoes has started and will hit the market within few days from now," the statement said.

As per feedback from District Horticultural officials in Chittoor and Kolar, tomato crop this year is substantially better than last year.

Kharif tomato areas are set to increase substantially over last year in major producing states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Published 05 July 2024, 14:37 IST

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