PUNE: A staggering 75% jump in average onion prices within two days at the Lasalgaonwholesale market on Thursday has raised expectations that India may resort to imports to tame rising prices.
Onion prices at the benchmark market in Nashik shot up to a minimum of Rs 8 per kg and maximum of Rs 26.31 per kg on Thursday, up from Rs 5 per kg and Rs 19 per kg respectively a day before, and Rs 5 per kg and Rs 15 per kg on Tuesday.
“The present wholesale prices in Lasalgaon are higher than that in Delhi. Traders increase prices on a daily basis so that by the time their cargo procured at lower prices reaches its destination, its selling price increases substantially,” said a veteran trader, who did not wish to be identified.
According to authorities in Madhya Pradesh, the state had procured 8.76 lakh quintal onion at support price. However, traders from Maharashtra have been quoting a much higher procurement figure for MP and claiming that the supplies have been stretched as stocks in MP have got over.
“Due to procurement of Madhya Pradesh government and the kharif crop from south India expected to be 60% lower, almost the entire country is currently buying onions from Nashik in Maharashtra, which has led to increase in prices. Even Madhya Pradesh traders are buying onions from Maharashtra,” said Sohanlal Bhandari, president, Nashik District Onion Traders Association.
With the rise in domestic prices, exports have almost stopped, while some traders are gearing up to import onions if prices remain above Rs 25 per kg in the domestic market. “If domestic prices remain between Rs 25 per kg and Rs 30 per kg, imports will become feasible,” said a Mumbai-based importer, who did not wish to be identified.
Traders, however, said that even imports may not help cool down onion prices.