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Wholesale onion prices nearly double as supply declines

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Pune: Wholesale onion prices have nearly doubled in the past three months as supply has reduced because of excess rainfall in southern India, supply chain disruptions due to the lockdown, higher percentage of rotting produce and distress sale by farmers.

At the benchmark Lasalgaon wholesale market, prices touched 16 per kg on Monday after rising for a fortnight. In some other markets, prices were even higher.

“Price of good quality onion has touched 20 per kg as excess rainfall in South Ubdia, especially in Karnataka, has damaged the local crop,” said Nandkumar Shirke, onion trader from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) has procured onions for price stabilisation. Nafed had set a target of procuring 100,000 tonnes of onions in 2020, which has nearly been met.

“We have procured close to 38,000 tonnes of onions on behalf of Nafed,” said Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, the federation of farmer producer companies in Maharashtra.

Nafed has directly procured another 40,000 tonnes of onions from Nashik district.

Thorat said farmers have sold onions in distress as the pandemic wiped out demand from the hotel industry, one of the bulk consumers of the perishable bulb. Besides, he said, “This year, due to excess moisture, the proportion of rotting is higher than normal in onions.”

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