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Updated: June 21, 2013 12:10 IST

Fresh arrivals push down small onion prices

S. Ganesan
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A wholesale Onion trader busy sorting onions at Gandhi Market, in Tiruchi. Photo: A. Muralitharan
The Hindu
A wholesale Onion trader busy sorting onions at Gandhi Market, in Tiruchi. Photo: A. Muralitharan

Price of small onions, which had been climbing up steadily over the past three months to reach a peak of Rs.90 to 100 a kg, has come down almost by half in the wholesale market of the city as consignments of the bulb has started arriving from Karnataka.

The price of the small onions has been on the upswing owing to the drought, which had affected cultivation.

On Thursday, the price of small onions ranged between Rs.40 to 60 a kg, depending on the quality, at Gandhi Market, the main wholesale market catering to the region. Based on their size and dryness, small onions are categorised into three qualities and sold at Rs.40, Rs.50 and Rs.60 a kg respectively at the market. The retail price usually is higher by Rs.5 a kg.

“Consignments of small onions have started arriving from Karnataka, especially Chamrajnagar district, bringing down the price of the bulbs. Currently, we are getting about 50 to 75 tonnes of small onions a day and the quantum is expected to go up to 100 to 150 tonnes a day in another 10 days. The price would come down further to Rs.20 to Rs.40 a kg over the next 10 days as arrivals pick up”

A. Thangaraj, General Secretary, Tiruchi Onion Commission Mandi Traders’ Association, told The Hinduon Wednesday. However, the price of the bigger onions, known as Bellary onions, was on the rise now owing to heavy export demand.

The crash in the price of small onions, which goes to make the ‘sambar’ in most households in the State, should come as some relief for consumers as prices of most vegetables have been on the rise over the past one month owing to the drought condition.

Traders at the wholesale onion market in the city predict that the price of small onion will come down in the days to come as more consignments from Karnataka arrive here. The entire production of small onions would find their way to Tamil Nadu and Kerala as bulbs are not in much demand locally in Karnataka. Moreover, the Madurai and Dindigul markets have also started getting supplies locally and traders there are not likely to buy the bulbs from Karnataka.

Supplies from Karnataka is expected to last for a couple of months, by which time local arrivals will begin from Perambalur district and Thuraiyur area in Tiruchi district, a major onion producing belt in the State.

Though the area of cultivation has come down substantially due to the drought, traders here do not anticipate much problem in supplies and do not see any chance for upswing in the price of small onion again at least for the next three to four months. However, traders predict a rise in the price of the Bellary onions.

Already, the wholesale price of bigger onion variety has increased to Rs.21 a kg from Rs.17-18 over the past few days. “The price of the onion will continue to rise and could reach Rs.30 a kg over the next 30 days unless exports were restricted,” Mr.Thangaraj said. As Bellary onion had available in abundance at cheap rates, there has been big demand for exports, traders said.

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