NASHIK: Onion futures must surely look promising for those in the business of trading in it but the promise of this kitchen staple showing up at dinner or any other meal for that matter, is growing dimmer by the day. On Tuesday morning, people in Mumbai and surrounding areas woke up to find that prices of this vegetable had further skyrocketed. In the onion markets of Nashik district, at the Umrane Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) on Tuesday, the highest price quoted was Rs 13,900 per quintal for four quintals of stored‘Unhal’ onions, while arrivals were reported to be about 6,500 quintals.
The minimum price was Rs 4,100 per quintal while the average price was Rs 10,000 per quintal. The fresh, red variety was traded for a maximum of Rs 10,000 per quintal, Rs 2,100 minimum while the average was Rs 7,750 per quintal in Umrane APMC.
The maximum rate fetched by this produce was for a negligible amount of stock, as most of it is traded at the minimum price or higher. On Tuesday, a mere four quintals fetched a price of Rs 139 per kg. Dealers, however, are telling consumers that the Nashik rate is Rs 139 per kg and charging an average of Rs 160 to Rs 170 per kg for onions purchased at Rs 21 to Rs 80 per kg.
Speaking of this development, former chairperson of Umrane APMC, Vilas Deore said, there were some ‘Unhal’ stocks remaining in their area. But he cautioned that prices could rise further if there are unseasonal rains again, as predicted.
Meanwhile, onion prices continued to rise in other APMCs of Nashik district. The largest market at Lasalgaon APMC reported a maximum price of Rs 8,991 per quintal on Tuesday, while the minimum was Rs 3,000 and the average was Rs 7,500 per quintal for red onions. ‘Unhal’ onion stocks have been exhausted in Lasalgaon.
‘Unhal’ is the rabi crop which has been harvested from March to June and is excellent for storage because of its double skin. The red onion presently being traded in the market is an early Kharif crop. This crop is generally harvested by Diwali but was delayed this year, due to unseasonal rains.
The third variety is ‘Rangda’ or Kharif, a winter crop. This should have been harvested now but heavy rain has delayed the process, which must now wait till January.
Lasalgaon APMC chairperson Suvarna Jagtap said, stocks were low and by the simple principle of demand and supply, the rates were high. “There is no politics or manipulation, this has been caused by natural disaster -- the heavy rains we witnessed. Unhal stock is exhausted in Lasalgaon and only fresh red onion is being currently traded,” she said.
Speaking about the Centre's plans to import onion, Jagtap said, these would be available by January. The Rangda variety too will be available in January, she said.