With the increase in the arrivals of onion crop at the agricultural produce marketing committees (APMCs), the prices that had shot up in the last few days have started coming down.
The spurt in onion prices is being attributed to the panic among onion merchants about shortfall in the produce, especially in the Nasik market, the main market for onion in the country.
According to onion traders in Hubli, which is one of the main markets for the produce in Karnataka, the panic is mainly because of the fact that the farmers in Maharashtra did not get the expected yield last year because of poor rain during the rabi season. With arrivals decreasing in the Nasik market, the merchants panicked which resulted in the sudden rise in price.
Onion traders here said that the Union government’s decision to allow exports, bringing down arrivals in the local market, had nothing to do with the price rise.
“No exporter would like to buy onion at the rate of Rs. 6,000 a quintal as he would not have any margin at all. And, moreover, why would the other countries buy onion at this rate from India, when they get it at cheaper rates from Egypt, Yemen and China,” said Saleem Byahatti, director of Hubli APMC and an onion trader. According to him, things have started improving with the arrival of onions grown at Challakere in Chitradurga district, Ajjampur in Chikmagalur district, and other places.
Fresh arrivals have made an impact on the prices. Prices that hovered around Rs. 5,000 a quintal for the Nasik variety on Monday came down to between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 5,000 per quintal on Tuesday. And, it was between Rs. 3,500 and Rs. 4,000 for the Challakere variety on Tuesday.
From Saturday to Tuesday, there has been a decrease of Rs. 1,500 a quintal in the Hubli market.
The Hubli market on Tuesday saw an arrival of 140 truckloads of onion and in the Bangalore market it was around 180 truckloads, with a majority being from the Challakere region.
The assessment of traders is that by the first week of September, the prices might decrease as the arrivals from the irrigated land in Challakere, Ajjampur, and other districts of central and north Karnataka, and from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh are expected to increase by that time.
“Since it is raining, the standing crop is not being harvested in irrigated land. It is only a matter of few days and there will be sufficient arrivals of onion from Challakere, Ajjampur and Kurnool,” said HDMC councillor and onion trader Abdul Wahab Mulla.
Although the erstwhile undivided Dharwad district (comprising Dharwad, Haveri and Gadag) is a major producer of onion, it is mostly under rainfed cultivation and the yield will start arriving at the APMCs by November. As arrivals would be huge by that time there would be further reduction in the onion prices.