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The tear-jerker: Onion prices cross Rs 200/kg

Traders said they had not foreseen such an acute scarcity of onion, which happened mainly because of heavy rain. They said farmers were harvesting pre-mature onion to benefit from present high rates. Though onion prices are at their historic highs, it has barely helped many farmers recover past year's losses and get decent returns this year.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 07, 2019, 08.11 AM IST
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While the Rs 200/kg mark was breached in Solapur for a consignment of 300 kg, the price was lower in other markets.
PUNE: Onion prices soared above Rs 200 per kg for some grades in the Solapur market of Maharashtra because of acute shortage of the commodity and prices are expected to remain firm until the last week of this month, traders said.

While the Rs 200/kg mark was breached in Solapur for a consignment of 300 kg, the price was lower in other markets.

“The price of Rs 200/kg is not a true indicator of present market conditions, as prices were lower in many other markets,” said Danish Shah, an onion trader and exporter in Maharashtra.

Atik Nadaf, another trade insider, said the best quality onions are being sold at Rs 170-180 per kg as there is good demand from all the southern states.

At the benchmark Lasalgaon APMC in Nashik district, new onion — called red onion locally — is selling for a maximum price of Rs 100/kg, while the average price is Rs 70/kg.

Traders said they had not foreseen such an acute scarcity of onion, which happened mainly because of heavy rain. “Acute shortage will continue till December 25, while the arrivals will improve by mid-January,” Shah said.

Traders said farmers were harvesting pre-mature onion to benefit from present high rates.

Though onion prices are at their historic highs, it has barely helped many farmers recover past year's losses and get decent returns this year.

Shivanand Fulari, a 25-yearold farmer from Solapur, is a case in point. He had sown onions on 1.5 acres of land in June. However, delayed onset of monsoon, followed by excess rainfall in August-September and again in November cut his onion production to just 17 bags of 50 kg each against 40 bags that he was expecting.

Of the 17 bags of production, 10 bags came out to be of inferior quality due to weather's vagaries and he could not sell them anywhere. Six bags of onions, weighing slightly more than three quintals, were of top quality, which were sold at a rate of Rs 200/kg at the Solapur APMC on Thursday. The seventh bag of 48 kg was sold at the rate of Rs 25/kg.

Now, Shivanand earned Rs 62,693 (Rs 63,000 minus weighing charge) for the 357 kg of onion he harvested from 1.5 acres of land after six months with investment of about Rs 50,000.

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