TAMIL NADU

Bigger loads bring down prices of small onions

Bags of small onions being unloaded at Gandhi Market.Photo: A.Muralitharan  

There were days when a kg of shallot sold at Rs. 120 in the retail market. Grocery shop owners in the city cashed in on the huge demand by selling the small onion variety for Rs. 150 a kg in May, June and July last year. In fact, the government had to step in and sell them in farm fresh outlets at cost price in order to stabilise the market rate.

This time of the year, however, it is a different story. The prices of shallot have crashed in Tiruchi market due to copious influx from major onion production centres. They are now for the taking for Rs. 18 and Rs. 24 per kg.

On Wednesday, a kg of high quality onion sold at Rs. 24 and the Mysore variety at Rs. 18.

Traders attribute heavy arrivals from production centres to the steep drop in prices. Besides being sourced from Thuraiyur, Perambalur, Chettikulam and neighbouring areas in Tiruchi and Perambalur districts, Tiruchi market also gets onion from Theni, Cumbum and Palladam. The supply from these areas is at an average level. But it is the arrival from Mysore, Samraj Nagar and Kollekal in Karnataka that has pushed down the prices. The traders from Karnataka are diverting additional loads to Tiruchi beyond the actual demand.

On an average, the market receives 15 to 20 loads (12 tonnes each) daily. But it has increased to 25 to 30 loads during the last two weeks.

“Onion production in the State seems to be on average scale. But heavy arrival of shallot from Karnataka is the main reason for the price slash,” says P. Chandru, a wholesale trader at Gandhi Market.

Traders say there are chances of the prices coming down further in the days to come.