Onion makes you cry again, prices hit 19-month high

Nashik: The average wholesale price of onions has increased  by a whopping 118 percent over the past two weeks in Maharashtra, from Rs 571 per quintal on July 13 to Rs 1,250 on Thursday, an 19-month high.

Seking to normalise the steady surge in the price of onions, the Centre may increase its minimum export price (MEP).

According to a report in a leading agency, The Centre had withdrawn the $700/tonne MEP in December 2015 after a crash in wholesale prices. There has been no MEP for the past 19 months. "The Centre is keeping a close watch on onion prices in wholesale markets," a government source told TOI.

Members of the Lasalgaon Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) have attributed the price spurt to short supply on account of a lull in harvest. "Harvest of fresh kharif crop will begin only in mid-October. Currently, the onions arriving in the market are from old stocks. This is the crop harvested in March and April," said an APMC official.

The official said the district's farmers, who are in financial trouble, preferred to store onions in the hope of getting better prices. He said that, in June, Lasalgaon received between 22,000 and 30,000 quintals of onions per day.

Over the past two weeks, the supply is 12,000-20,000 quintals. "This indicates that farmers have already sold the onions they had stored and they may have limited stocks now. Hence, the rise in price," a source added.