Onion prices soar: Govt won’t halt exports as prices ‘not extraordinarily high’

  • Out of the 2 lakh tonnes of onion buffer stock created by the government, about half of it is still ready for market intervention.
Pandey said that state governments feel that there is no possibility of a sharp increase in onion prices in the coming days(Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO)
Pandey said that state governments feel that there is no possibility of a sharp increase in onion prices in the coming days(Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO)
Published on Oct 22, 2021 09:34 PM IST
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Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Union food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said retail onion prices are not extraordinarily high enough to ban exports of the key kitchen staple. Pandey said that buffer stocks are being released to help cool down prices, news agency PTI reported.

The festive mood of Indians is dampened due to the hike in prices of fuel as well as edible oils. Pandey said that the average onion price is lower than in the year-ago period. He said that the average onion price was ruling at 41.5 per kg in October compared to 55.6 per kg in October 2020.

Here are the retail prices of onion according to government data across India’s major cities -

  • New Delhi - 48/kg
  • Mumbai - 43/kg
  • Kolkata - 57/kg
  • Chennai - 37/kg

“Onion prices are not extraordinarily high. The average prices are lower than last year,” Pandey said. He also said that market intervention has begun to check the price rise in onions. He said that the rates have not reached levels that would necessitate actions as per the Essential Commodities Act.

Pandey said that state governments feel that there is no possibility of a sharp increase in onion prices in the coming days as the domestic kharif onion production is estimated to be higher at 43.88 lakh tonne in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) as against 37.38 lakh tonne in the year-ago period.

He further said that more than 81,000 tonnes of onions from buffer stock were released in the market where prices are rising at a huge pace. He said out of the 2 lakh tonnes of onion buffer stock created by the government, about half of it is still ready for market intervention. He said that the Centre is supplying onions at subsidised rates to boost supply. “Kharif onion production is expected to be higher by 7-8 lakh tonne this year and this would help further cool down onion prices in the coming days,” Pandey said.

He said that the recent spike in prices could have been caused by small damage to the onion crop in about 0.59 lakh hectare area in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh due to recent unseasonal rains. “We had discussions with state governments last week. Everyone is of the view that there is no possibility of an increase in prices,” Pandey said.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021