India’s onion production this year is likely to touch a record 95 lakh tonnes, but it may not result in a sharp fall in prices due to high investment costs involved, a top official said.

“Onion output is estimated to be a record 95 lakh tonne in 2009-10, compared to around 85 lakh tonne last year,” Nasik-based National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Additional Director Satish Bhonde told PTI.

He said onion produce per hectare is expected to rise by 13 per cent to 16-17 tonne in top producing states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh from 15 tonnes per hectare in 2008.

“Use of crop technology and irrigation have improved onion yields, though acreage remained at last year’s level of 5.5 lakh hectare,” Mr. Bhonde said.

However, the rich yield is unlikely to translate into lower prices. “The wholesale prices of onions are unlikely to fall significantly because farmers are storing the crop in a big way. Also, higher production cost may not allow them to sell at lower rates,” he said.

According to NHRDF data, wholesale prices for onions were ruling at Rs 6-7 per kg today at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia’s biggest onion market.

Harvesting of the summer or rabi crop, which accounts for 60 per cent of India’s onion production, is almost complete and output is estimated to be about 45 lakh tonne, the NHRDF said.

India has three seasons for onion - kharif (winter), late kharif and rabi (summer). The country has harvested 46 lakh tonnes from both kharif and late kharif, it added.