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India: Delay in harvest will push up onion prices

The price of onion is likely to climb steeply again during September-November. According to a report by Crisil research, the erratic monsoon rainfall this year is set to lead to a delay in the harvest of the kharif crop, which is likely to drive up the prices as the demand increases in the festive season.

The fact that the monsoon arrived early this year, had signalled a good start to the kharif season. However, the report pointed out that in July, there was a ‘break’ in the monsoon, with the rainfall registering a 2 per cent deficit over the average for that time of the year, while in August, a key month for crop transplantation, the figure was a 9 per cent deficit reports

The kharif onion crop is usually sown in June-July and harvested in October­-November, resulting in the months of September to November being the lean season for the commodity, as by then, the rabi onion stock from earlier in the year is almost depleted, and the fresh harvest comes to the market at its own pace.

This year, even the stored rabi crop was affected due to Cyclone Tauktae, which struck the key onion-producing regions of Maharashtra and Gujarat in May 2021, leading to increased moisture content and shorter shelf-life. Thus, supply is likely to be affected, pushing up prices.

Last year, onion prices had hit twice the levels registered in the ‘normal’ year 2018, the Crisil report stated, giving the reason that supply was disrupted by the heavy and erratic monsoon that damaged the kharif crop in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

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