Onion woes

The government bans exports of the staple vegetable in a bid to rein in spiralling domestic prices.

Published : Oct 14, 2019 16:53 IST

AFTER years of bountiful harvests and booming exports, India’s onion trade has suddenly been hit by a government ban on exports in the last week of September in the wake of spiralling domestic prices. Wholesale prices of the staple vegetable have steadily risen this year, from Rs.1,344.30 a quintal in March to Rs.1,908.6 in July and Rs.2,312.3 in August.

Arrivals in August totalled 10,14,420 tonnes, compared with 10,43,200 tonnes in the same month last year.

The Horticultural Statistics Division’s latest monthly report on onion said that the area sown up to end-August is 1.81 lakh hectares, down from 1.88 lakh hectares in the corresponding period last year.

The major kharif growing States are Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

In 2018, a total of 19,90,461 tonnes valued at Rs.3,516.26 crore were exported. This year, in the January-July period, 12,35,981 tonnes worth Rs.1,840.70 crore were exported.

In recent years, the country’s onion production has steadily risen. The five-year average production between 2013-14 and 2017-18 was 2,09,90,520 tonnes; production in 2017-18 alone was 2,32,62,330 tonnes, while the third advanced estimate for 2018-19 is slightly higher at 2,34,85,070 tonnes.

Maharashtra is the biggest producer, accounting for 31.77 per cent of the all-India production during the period between 2013-14 and 2017-18. It was followed by Madhya Pradesh (15.19 per cent) and Karnataka (13.36 per cent).

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