Onion buyers are likely to remain teary eyed at least for one more month until arrivals from the next harvest commence in October.

For the last two months now, a kilogram of good quality of old onion has been hovering around the Rs. 70-mark. Onion traders at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) here blame the poor crop in Maharashtra for soaring prices.

Though onion arrivals from Challakere region in Chitradurga and Chikmagalur in Karnataka have commenced, traders complain of poor quality. They attribute this to anxious farmers having harvested the crop early. This onion, which has high moisture content, also has a shorter shelf-life, and is selling at about Rs. 55 a kg in the city against the old onion that still costs around Rs. 70 a kg.

“We expect the price to come down only after onion from Gadag, Dharwad, Hubli, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Raichur and other districts start coming in during mid-October. Onion from the Pune region is also expected to arrive in the last week of November,” Karisiddappa of Sri Jenukal Siddeshwara Traders, which functions at the APMC, said.

The wholesale price of good quality onion was about Rs. 60 per kg., while the price of the moisture-laden variety was at Rs. 50 per kg on Tuesday. A year ago, in September, onion was selling for Rs. 15 to Rs. 20 a kg in the wholesale market. The retail price was in the Rs. 25 to Rs. 30 range, said Balakrishna, a wholesale trader. “Due to excess rainfall, the quality has suffered. But even the price of the poor quality onion costs more because the demand from north India has increased significantly,” he said.

Mr. Karisiddappa says anxious farmers in search of good returns are harvesting the crop early and despatching their output quickly to the market without drying the produce. “With the threat of rainfall, farmers are also not taking any chances,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources in the Hopcoms where one kg of onion was selling at Rs. 68 on Tuesday, said the farmers’ cooperative is contemplating a reduction in its margin in order to help customers.

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