Prices of onion are so soared that people are comparing it with avocado. But why all this chaos happened? What are the reasons? A lot of question like these making a round in common public’s head.
The storage of onions in the year 2017 and 2018 was 48.73 and 50.05 Lakh MT, respectively, as per the estimates of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. The combined Kharif and Late Kharif production for 2019-20 is estimated at 54.73 LMT as against 69.91 LMT in 2018-19. This led to limited availability of Kharif onions in the market and put pressure on its prices.
Onion is a seasonal crop with harvesting period of Rabi (March to June), Kharif (October to December) and late Kharif (January to March). In the intervening period (July to October), the market is fed by stored Rabi onions.
During 2019-20, there was a 3-4 weeks delay in sowing as well as decline in sown area of the Kharif onion because of late arrival of monsoon. Further, untimely prolonged rains in the major growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh during the harvesting period, i.e., September/October, caused damage to the standing crops in these regions. All this adversely impacted production and quality of the Kharif crop. The rains during September/October also affected transportation of the crop from these regions to consuming areas.
Several steps such as creation of onion buffer of about 57,373 MT during Rabi 2019, withdrawal of incentive on export of onions under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) with effect from June 11, 2019, imposition of Minimum Export Price (MEP) of $850/MT on Sept 13, 19, and subsequent ban on exports of onions since Sept 29, 19, facilitation of import, imposition of stock limit on onion traders, approval for import on onion through MMTC and domestic procurement of onions from producing/surplus states by NAFED for supplies in deficit states and so on.
This information was given in a written reply by the Minister of State for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao in Rajya Sabha on Friday.