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Average wholesale onion prices have crashed by Rs 600 per 100kgs

India: Central government’s directive results in plunge in onion trade

Even as the Lasalgaon onion trade - at India’s largest wholesale market for the product - resumed after the weekend, uncertainty continues to prevail in all Agriculture Produce Market Committees in Nashik district, a major onion belt in the state.

At the direction of the Centre, the state government has asked all APMCs in Nashik district to maintain a daily record of procurement of registered traders which has resulted in a price drop. Top officials revealed that daily report has to be submitted to the Deputy District Registrar (DDR) on procurement of onion every day, which has led to a drop in both arrivals and procurement by traders.

Arrivals have dropped to 200-300 odd tons from 1,000 tons before September 29. The maximum wholesale rate of onion at Lasalgaon in Nashik district have declined from the peak of Rs 5,100 per quintal in mid-September, according to the data maintained by the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation.

MMTC invites fresh bids for onion imports
After the Indian government had invited bids for the import of 2,000 ton onions, scheduled to be delivered by the end of November, state-owned trading company MMTC has invited fresh bids for the import of 2,000 tons of onions with a price ceiling of $352 (about Rs 24,992) a ton, at a time when 15,000 ton of onions in the government’s buffer stock have dried up in warehouses.

Officials said there would have been no need to import if onions in the buffer stock had been properly stored. “Losing out 15,000 ton during this crucial juncture is sad. It could have taken care of supply needed to supplement wherever there is shortage.”

The validity of the bid will be till October 17. Onions are scheduled to be delivered by the end of this month to help the government keep a check on onion prices before the new crop from Maharashtra, which produces over 35% of onions in the country, reaches the market in mid-November.

Onion storage facility raided in Ujjain
Meanwhile, in probably the first anti-hoarding raid in Madhya Pradesh this year, the Ujjain district administration has seized some 90 tons of onions from a storage facility in Badhkummed on Monday. The raid, jointly carried out by the agriculture, food and weights and measures department officials, was on Patidar, a district civil supplier.

"The officials found excess stock of around 30 tons of onions from the storage facility," he said, adding that Patidar was a trader in the wholesale market and had been illegally storing onions, expecting prices to rise in near future due to shortages in the market.  

The trader's licence does not have any mention of the facility, where the onions were stored, he said. The trader had registered onion crops in his wife's name on two hectares of land.

[ Rs100 = €1.28 ]

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