Onions at Rs 100/kg mark in Andhra, government starts selling at Rs 40/kg
The prices of onions have not come down due to heavy rains damaging standing crops in Maharashtra and Andhra PradeshUpdated: Oct 23, 2020, 15:11 IST
As onion prices in the open market have been skyrocketing over the last one week, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh on Friday started selling onions at a subsidised rate of Rs 40 a kg across the state.
According to state marketing department officials, the wholesale price of onions in the open market has shot up to Rs 80-90 a kg. “The retail price is much higher, around Rs 100-110 a kg, making it unaffordable for the common man,” K Akshaj, assistant director of marketing department in Kakinada, said.
The government has taken up sale of onion at a subsidised rate of Rs 40 a kg through Rythu Bazaars (farmers’ markets) where the state’s marketing department facilitates direct selling of agricultural produce by farmers to consumers.
Serpentine queues were witnessed at several market yards since morning to buy onions at subsidised rates. The authorities told buyers to show their Aadhaar cards, so that each cardholder gets only one kg of onions.
However, there was no clarity whether each person would get one kg onions at subsidised rate per day, per week or every one month. “We have just started onion supply at subsidised rates keeping in view the demand. We are awaiting guidelines in this regard. Since there are limited stocks for now, we shall supply one kg per card holder once a week,” Akshaj said.
In the first phase, the sale of subsidised onions was taken up in all major cities and towns. The stocks will reach the small towns and villages as they arrive at the government stock points, the official said.
State agriculture minister K Kannababu told reporters that the marketing department had made arrangements for procuring 5,000 tons of onions from NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) for supply through Rythu Bazaars at subsidised rates. About 1,000 tons of onions were released for immediate supply to Rythu Bazaars, he said.
According to officials, the prices of onions have been on the rise because of heavy rains damaging standing crops across the country, particularly in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
In Andhra Pradesh, onions are mostly cultivated in Kurnool and Kadapa districts of Rayalaseema. However, because of heavy rains, cultivation was taken up only in 25,000 hectares this year against the normal area of 28,000 hectares. The recent heavy rains caused extensive damage to the crop sowed in around 2,600 hectares, said an official.
At Kurnool market, a major centre for onion trade, only 1,500 and 2,000 quintals are arriving every day as against 12,000 quintals during the season every year.
Last year too, Andhra Pradesh witnessed severe shortage of onions, resulting in a sharp rise in the prices – up to Rs 180 a kg. The Jagan government, which was newly formed then, had to take up supply of one kg of onions per family at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 a kg.
Serpentine queues for subsidised Onions had resulted in stampedes at some places. In Gudivada town, a 60-year-old man died of a heart attack while standing in a long queue for more than two hours to buy onions.
Officials said the onion prices might come down this year once the fresh stocks begin to arrive from mid-November in the Nasik market.