Onion growers in Maharashtra have booked warehouses and storages nicely in advance this calendar year to retailer the bulb even as its rates have slipped additional to below ₹900 a quintal.
“Onion rates have dropped sharply from the highs witnessed in February. Rabi onions are envisioned to arrive from April fifteen onwards. By now alone, onion farmers have booked spaces in warehouses to retailer the bulb,” mentioned Agri Commodities Exporters Association (ACEA) President M Madan Prakash.
Onion rates, which experienced zoomed to ₹4,000 a quintal in the third 7 days of February this calendar year, have nosedived to below ₹900. In accordance to Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare data, modal price of red onion, ordinarily harvested during early and late Kharif season, is now ₹850/quintal at Lasalgaon, Asia’s premier market for the bulb.
Greater shelf daily life
Through this time of the calendar year, arrivals of late Kharif onion continue but traders say that Rabi onions have started to arrive. Considering the fact that the Rabi crop can previous for about 6 months, their rates are ruling at all-around ₹900.
Very last calendar year, rates at the exact time were being at minimum ₹100 greater irrespective of the Centre imposing lockdown to deal with the unfold of novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
On Monday, one,four hundred tractor hundreds of onions arrived in Lasalgaon against arrivals of two,200 during the peak harvest period. Over two,000 tonnes of onion modified palms against about two,five hundred tonnes during the typical period.
“Markets were being closed for March-finish and Holi. We have opened from April one and farmers are coming in slowly but surely,” mentioned Lasalgaon Agricultural Develop Marketing and advertising Committee Secretary Narendra Savaliram Wadhavane.
In retail outlets, onions are priced at ₹25 a kg in Mumbai and Delhi, in accordance to the Shopper Affairs Ministry data. “Usually, rabi onion is being stored about the previous handful of a long time by growers, traders, exporters and, even, authorities. Rabi onion can be stored for 6-7 months,” mentioned Ajith Seth, President, Horticulture Develop Exporters Association (HPEA). “Normally, the crop that comes during April-Might is stored in the warehouses. Through that time, a excellent amount comes in the market facilitating storage. Currently, Rabi onions have started arriving but their quality is not excellent,” mentioned Vikas Chaudhary, a Nashik-based mostly exporter. Outlining the big difference in the circumstance this calendar year in contrast to the past one particular, Prakash mentioned before storage spaces would be out there even in late April or early Might during peak arrivals.
“Even people who have an normal form of storage area have described that the spaces have been booked beforehand this calendar year. Growers began to appear for warehouses a little early this calendar year,” the ACEA president mentioned.
Farmers are opting to retailer their develop this calendar year, expecting to get far better rates during the non-peak or lean arrival season starting off June. Rates are likely to remain company at minimum until finally September when early Kharif onion crop begins arriving in the market.
“Many warehouses have come up in the previous handful of a long time to aid farmers by storing onion,” Prakash mentioned. This is equivalent to what potato farmers do – retailer the develop and hold out for rates to raise.
The hire for these warehouses, termed Chaali, differs from one particular spot to a further and also relies upon on the services that are created out there. Seth mentioned the normal price tag could work out to ₹50,000 for fifty tonnes and it is a one particular-time agreement that could increase up to the time the grower or trader usually takes out the develop.
Chilly storages are also out there, although they are a pricey affair. Likewise, significant warehouses are out there at less costly prices.
“Storage capability of these warehouses differ. Farmers even ebook spaces in accordance to their requirements. Within one particular warehouse, spaces can be rented out in another way,” mentioned Nashik-based mostly trader Sushant Musale.
The greatest solution for growers will be to opt for a chaali that can ensure airflow from all sides, like from the bottom as it will provide onions with a larger sized shelf daily life.
Slack export demand
While rates have dropped, exports demand has not picked up as envisioned.
“Export demand has not picked up in locations these as Malaysia because of to constraints imposed by Kuala Lumpur to include Covid-19. Traders are not certain of demand finding up,” mentioned ACEA’s Prakash.
“Export demand is sluggish since our buyers are even now acquiring their aged orders from nations around the world these as Pakistan. We can hope demand just after a pair of months,” mentioned HPEA’s Seth.
Till February-finish previous fiscal, onion exports totalled 13.ninety four lakh tonnes (lt) against eleven.49 lt the complete of 2019-20 fiscal. This is irrespective of onion exports being banned from September third 7 days to December 31 as the Centre resorted to various measures to rein in surging onion rates.
Onion rates surged to about ₹100 a kg in retail outlets ahead of the Union Government’s measures, like enabling obligation-cost-free imports and imposing a cap on inventory holdings, compensated dividends.
Very last year’s superior rates have also aided greater generation of onion during the current crop calendar year (July 2020-June 2021). In accordance to the Ministry of Agriculture, onion generation this calendar year is projected to be 26.29 million tonnes (mt) from 26.09 mt the past calendar year with the spot under the bulb rising to practically one.6 million hectares (mh) from one.forty three mh a calendar year back.