Ajit Shah, a horticulture
commodity veteran and also the president of the Horticulture Exporters Association, said: “Prices now seem to have peaked and imported onion will start arriving soon. Local prices should start falling thereon.”
In the past three months, onion prices
have almost quadruplicated in most parts of the country. The reason was that a late monsoon impacted sowing and crop arrival, creating a shortage in the market. The government took measures to tame prices, including a ban on exports and imposition of a direct nationwide stock limit.
On Wednesday, the government tweaked its norms to allow more onion imports.
‘Fumigation and endorsement on PSC as per the Plant Quarantine Order, 2003,’ has been relaxed for onion imports till November 30, subject to certain conditions. Importers have also sought a relaxation in deceleration norms which are yet to be accepted. However, even with the relaxations given, 3,000 tonnes of onion is expected to arrive in the next 15 days. After that, onion from the fresh Maharashtra crop will arrive in the market.
Trade sources said, with imported onion coming in, traders hoarding within or beyond permissible limits would also start bringing their stock to the market, further bringing down the prices.
Even South India states are working on increasing supplies to arrest the rise in prices. The wholesale onion price in Tamil Nadu’s Koyambedu market was around Rs 80 a kg earlier this week, leading to a retail price range of Rs 90-100 a kg. The state government sent a team to Nasik in Maharashtra to buy onion as part of its plan to control prices and regulate the quality of onions.
The onion so procured is to be sold through co-operative societies.
Tamil Nadu’s minister for cooperation, Sellur K Raju, attributed the shortage of onion to heavy rains in the main producing centres of Maharashtra (Nashik), besides Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The state government said a special committee led by civil supplies commissioners had been constituted to keep a check in every district.