Onion, coriander prices crash

Onion, coriander prices crash

With more demand for out-of state onions, the locally grown crop has no takers.

The prices of onion and coriander have crashed in the last few days across the state. Coriander, the kitchen essential, which burnt holes in pockets a month ago with an all-time high cost of Rs 140-150 a kg, is now literally wilting in markets and being sold at throwaway prices of Rs 10-15 a kg. Besides coriander, the cost of other vegetables like onions and Mangaluru cucumber have also hit the lowest ebb in the market. 

While the markets are abuzz with several theories explaining the downfall of prices, traders at the wholesale market in Kalasipalyam and Yeshwantpur attributed it to the glut in production in anticipation of a bumper price and ban on export of onions resulting in the price cash. A coriander farmer from Attibele on the outskirts of Bengaluru has let livestock graze on his crop. 

“I sowed coriander just before Deepavali. The prices were then soaring and traders said that they will continue to rise. But suddenly, prices crashed and I could not even recover the transportation cost. Hence, I have allowed the cattle to graze on it,” Thyagappa, the farmer, moaned.

A wholesale trader from Madiwala said, “Several farmers had taken to coriander as a short-term crop considering the soaring prices.”

“But soon after the festive season, the demand for coriander dropped drastically but the supply has been overwhelming resulting in the price crash,” he added. The market is flooded with the crop from adjoining districts like Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Hosur and Mysuru districts. 

A fresh influx of onions into the domestic market from neighbouring Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh following the ban on export, has literally wiped out the local supply chain of onion growers. The busy Yeshwantpur market on Friday witnessed several truckloads of onion left untouched. 

Speaking to DH, the onion traders of the wholesale market blamed it on the Centre’s ban. “After the ban on exports, huge stockpiles of onions have remained unsold. The stock over the weeks has turned surplus with the fresh influx resulting in a price crash of locally grown onion,” KR Krishna, joint secretary, Onions and Potatoes Traders’ Association, Bengaluru.

According to the traders, it is the quality of onions from other states that has taken over the local stock. “As most of Karnataka grows onion on irrigated land, they have high moisture content and have a short shelf life. But onions grown in Maharashtra and Gujarat are dried well. Further, the size of each onion is also bigger than the local ones. With more demand for the out-of state-onions, the locally grown crop has no takers,” explained another trader. Onions are sold at Rs 1,100 a quintal and Rs 6 a kg with wholesalers. 

He said stocks from the previous seasons still need to be disposed of which is adding pressure on the market. “We have loads of onions to dispose of within Karnataka. We will have to dispose of them in Hubballi, Bengaluru, Mysuru and other markets.”