Eighty per cent of the arrival is sent to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore

Bellary onions and shallots have shot up in price in the wholesale onion market because of a mix of factors such as spurt in exports, poor arrivals and slump in production.

Growing export demand is driving onion prices. Eighty per cent of the produce in the Dindigul market is exported to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, market sources say.

The wholesale price of shallots (small onion), which was selling at Rs.25 a kg two months ago, has increased to Rs.65. The retail prices hover between Rs.70 to Rs.75. Prices of Bellary onion (large onion) swing between the Rs.45 to Rs.55 range, says wholesale onion trader M. Marimuthu. The wholesale price of shallots is expected to touch Rs.80 a kg.

Onions come in from Andipatti and Cumbum in Theni district, Sengurichi, Gujiliamparai, Vedasandur and Ayyalur in Dindigul district, Udumalpet in Tirupur district, Tiruchi and Karnataka. Arrivals from Mysore were over by July-end. Low output is also a factor , with a 30 per cent dip in supply. Many farmers have switched crops this season owing to monsoon failure. Theni and Tirupur districts are the only supply source for onions.

As a result, the inflow into the Dindigul market has dropped from 5,000 to 8,000 bags (each weighing 80 kg) to 2,000 sacks.

Exporters snap up arrivals, leaving nothing to local retailers. Low production of big onions from Bellary and other areas in Maharashtra has also led to the high prices in the market, say traders. Poor arrivals have pushed up prices. But traders expect a fresh fillip to arrivals of Bellary onions starting two weeks from now. In which case, prices will stabilize.