New Delhi: For the past week, onion prices have skyrocketed to Rs 80 per kg. On Tuesday morning, onions were being sold at Rs 75-80 per kg in Mumbai and Delhi retail markets.
The Centre has decided to release more onions from its buffer stocks. It has asked the state governments, too, to release their stocks.
It has already imposed a minimum export price so that traders can’t export onions at a rate below the specified rate — a move aimed at making onions available in the domestic markets.
According to a News18 report, India is importing onions from Afghanistan and Egypt, which will arrive in India by October 15. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the AAP government would bring the prices down to Rs 24 per kg in the next dan days.
But how did the situation escalate?
Onions are a three-season crop, which ensures there will be no shortage of supply throughout the year. Among these, Kharif (sown between May and July and harvested in October-December) and late Kharif (sown in August-September and harvested in January-March) can’t be stored, which makes this supply crunch during this time almost a seasonal one. Rabi crop (sown in October-November and harvested after April) can be stored for a longer period.
According to reports, the prices were soaring from the beginning of this month as compared to other years, 2019 saw a sharp dip in onion production. For the last three consecutive years, onion crops fetched huge loss. Farmers threw their crops last year which, coupled with this year’s heatwave and heavy rains, can be blamed for the lower production this year.
States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal contribute to almost 90 per cent of onion production.
The upcoming elections in Maharashtra and Haryana have compounded the problem as the price rise, it is believed, will impact voters. The Centre can’t control the prices as that would affect the onion growers. At the same time, it can’t let the prices soar as the price rise will pinch middle-class voters as well.