Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas said that no export of onion is taking place because of the increased prices of the commodity and its low production in the country. JPN/Agencies
"In the last two days prices have gone up and production has slightly come down and no export is taking place because prices in India are much more than the price outside," Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas told reporters outside the Parliament House.
The Minister said he was in touch with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and authorities in other states to find out an immediate solution to the crisis. "I am in touch with states like Delhi whether they are able to take onion from Nashik. (Agriculture Minister) Sharad Pawar will be coming on Sunday. So I will find out some solution for it," Thomas said when asked about the skyrocketing prices of onion.
India has exported 6.39 lakh tonnes of onion during April-July period of this fiscal compared with 6.94 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. Production stood at 16.6 million tonnes in 2012-13.
Onion price soars to Rs 80/kg despite normal supply
Much to the discomfort of consumers, onion prices on Wednesday touched Rs 80 per kg in most retail markets in the national capital despite normal supply in the wholesale markets.
Wholesale prices of onion have increased by Rs 5 to Rs 50-55 per kg in Azadpur mandi, according to the Onion Merchant Traders Association.
Onion supply to the city, which comes from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, is normal at 12,000 quintals in Azadpur, Asia's largest wholesale market, it added.
At Mother Dairy outlets, onions are being sold at Rs 55-60 per kg, while local vendors are selling it at 70-80 per kg depending upon the quality and location. Onion Merchant Traders Association President Surendra Budhiraj attributed the rise in wholesale price of onion in Delhi to increase in prices of the bulb crop in Maharashtra, the country's largest onion producing state.
At Lasalgaon in Nashik, prices rose slightly to Rs 46 per kg on Wednesday from Rs 45 a kg even as supplies remained normal, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Director R P Gupta said.
Prices are expected to cool down in the first week of September once supplies from onion Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka increases, he added.
At the Kolkata market, onion prices jumped to Rs 70 a kg for the best quality in retail markets, keeping pace with the national trend. The official wholesale price of onions in markets in the metropolis has crossed Rs 2000 per bag (40 kg) or Rs 50 a kg and as a result the retail price of the best quality of the vegetable is hovering at Rs 65-70 a kg, traders said.
"The wholesale onion price which was Rs 15 a kg during the same time last year has spurted unexpectedly to Rs 50 a kg this year," trader and adviser to state agri-marketing department Shibu Malakar said.
"Based on the current trend, prices will remain firm unless there is a ban on onion export," he said.
Concern in LS over shooting price of onions
Concern over shooting prices of onions and other vegetables found its echo in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with the government being accused of failing to take remedial steps.
CPI(M) member P Karunakaran raised the issue during Zero Hour drawing attention of the House to the situation caused by "uncontrolled" rise in prices of onions and other vegetables, most of which were being sold in the market "at the rate of Rs 80-90 per kg".
"Government has not only completely failed to control the prices of all essential commodities, but it has taken several steps which have led to tremendous rise in prices," he said.
"The price of petrol has been increased 27 times in the recent past and that of diesel too, which have a direct bearing on the prices of essential commodities," he said.
He demanded that the government urgently come out with steps to check the rise in prices and a special discussion in the House on the matter. A review of the working of the mid-day meal scheme following the death of 23 children in Bihar was raised by Uday Singh (BJP), who pointed out the "glaring loopholes" in its implementation like "teachers being used to prepare food for the children instead of teaching."
"The implementation of this ambitious scheme has totally failed even as we are discussing Food Security Bill. If we can't ensure proper implementation of the mid-day meal scheme, how can we ensure food security to the poor?" he asked.
Rain and production shortfall has been blamed for rise in price of onion. West Bengal is a key consumer of onion. Traders said that wholesale supply to the market in the city shrank by 50 percent from supplying states. Malakar said there was little the state government could do on the price unless it decided to sell directly to consumers at a subsidized price.
Consumers will have to bear till September end when the Kharif onion would hit the market. He also said there was no major report of hoarding of the perishable commodity so far.
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas said that no export of onion is taking place because of the increased prices of the commodity and its low production in the country.