Garlic prices soar 55% ahead of winter demand due to supply crunch

Garlic is normally used as a medicinal bulb to help fight cold in the winter
Garlic prices have risen by as much as 55 per cent since June in retail markets, due to a sharp increase in stockists’ demand and reduced supply ahead of winter season.

Data compiled by the government-owned National Horticulture Board (NHB) showed that garlic prices shot up at the highest rate of 55 per cent in Delhi, to trade at Rs 170 a kg on Thursday, from Rs 110 a kg early June this year. Prices had remained subdued for about a year, and were trading at Rs 40-60 a kg in retail and Rs 20-30 a kg in major wholesale mandis. In retail, garlic was selling at Rs 200 a kg in Mumbai on Saturday, up 100 per cent from its price about a month ago.

The demand for the crop has suddenly risen from the south Indian markets over the past few weeks, in addition to other existing markets such as Maharashtra and Gujarat. Apart from that, traders in Madhya Pradesh, the largest producing area of this vegetable additive, have also seen a sharp increase in demand from overseas markets, including China, for inventory building for its consumption for medicinal and other daily purposes.

“There has been a sharp increase in garlic demand from the south Indian markets including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Continuous decline in its supply has helped sellers to raise garlic prices in major wholesale mandis,” said J N Ojha, Secretary, Dalauda mandi in Madhya Pradesh.

NHB data showed that garlic arrival in Mumbai mandi has declined to 64 tonnes now from 112 tonnes in June. Similarly, garlic supply in Bangaluru mandi has slumped to 87 tonnes now as against 112 tonnes in June.

Garlic is normally used as a medicinal bulb to help fight cold in the winter. Its horizon has widened over the years as a falvouring additive to order to make food spicy.

“Garlic farmers have already sold their holding. Now, its stock is left only with traders and stockists who have deep pocket to wait for its price rise. These stockists normally buy during harvesting season and sell the bulb in lean season to make profits. So, the price rise is expected to continue till the new season arrivals hit mandis in January–February 2020,” said C S Mandloi, Secretary, Jhabua mandi in Madhya Pradesh.

With the ongoing flood and drought across the country, sowing of garlic has declined this year. Consequently, its output may decline in the harvesting season January–February 2020.

The Ministry of Agriculture in its 2nd Advanced Estimate has estimated a sharp decline in India’s garlic output at 1.5 million tonnes for 2018-19 as compared to 1.86 million tonnes in the previous year.