Price of small onions in Tiruchi slips

While the normal demand for small onions is 200 tonnes, arrivals currently stand at 300 tonnes at the Gandhi Market in Tiruchi. Photo: A.Muralitharan  


Traders attribute the fall in price to higher arrivals from Perambalur and other districts

The price of small onions has crashed at the wholesale market in Tiruchi. Although it spells good news for consumers, onion growers in Perambalur and Tiruchi districts are literally in tears.

Prices of both small and Bellary onions (first quality) have fallen to Rs. 20 a kg, down by Rs.10 to Rs. 20 since last month at the wholesale market at the Gandhi Market in Tiruchi from where retailers from most central districts procure the bulbs. Prices of both varieties have fluctuated wildly right through last year.

Traders attribute the latest fall in price to higher arrivals. “Apart from increased arrivals from Perambalur and Tiruchi districts, supplies from other districts are pouring in. We are getting about 300 tonnes of small onions a day while the normal demand is about 200 tonnes. Similarly, we are getting 500 tonnes of Bellary onions from Maharashtra against the demand of just 250 tonnes a day. Left with rising stocks, traders have no option but to reduce prices,” said A. Thangaraj, general secretary, Tiruchi Onion Commission Mandi Traders’ Association.

Perambalur is the leading onion-producing district in the State with the crop being raised on about 8,000 hectares of land normally. Tiruchi district accounts for another 4,000 hectares.

“Last year and the year before, we faced a crisis because of lack of rain. We managed to raise the crop using whatever little water was there in our wells, but we are incurring heavy losses because of the crash in price now,” rued R. Manickam, a small onion grower of P.K. Agaram in Tiruchi district.

Farmers say traders are now procuring small onions at just Rs.10 to Rs. 15 a kg, depending on the quality. “At this price, we will not be able to even recover the cost of seeds, purchased at Rs. 80 a kg. Farmers incur a minimum of Rs. 50,000 for cultivating small onions in an acre,” said Mr. Manickam. He plans to process his produce this year to be sold as seeds through which he hopes to get a better price of about Rs. 30 a kg.

There was a glut in the market because farmers could not store onions for long during winter, said R. Raja Chidambaram, general secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam. The problem could be solved if the Centre fixed the procurement price for small onions to protect the interest of both farmers and consumers. But politicians, who raise a hue and cry when the price shoots up, were silent when the price slumps, he regretted. He suggested that the State government procure onions from farmers and sell it through ration shops.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2017 9:58:51 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/price-of-small-onions-in-tiruchi-slips/article5537789.ece