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Onions likely to cost Rs 45 a kg by Diwali on low kharif crop

PUNE: Onion prices are likely to go up to Rs 40-45/kg by Diwali, what with wholesale prices recording a 50 per cent jump at Lasalgaon APMC in Maharashtra over the past few days.

Traders claim that the kharif crop is likely to be lower due to drought-like conditions in the state and with wholesale markets remaining closed during Diwali, prices are likely to go up from the current retail price of Rs 15-20/kg throughout the country.

The wholesale onion markets in Nashik district will remain closed for 7-8 days during Diwali break, which may also be responsible for the price spike. The average wholesale price of onion jumped 50 per cent from Rs 12/kg on Friday to Rs 18/kg on Monday and Tuesday at Lasalgaon APMC, the benchmark market which sets onion prices for the rest of the country. Presently, onions are coming to the markets from the stored stocks. Farmers have incurred 40 per cent storage losses on these stocks.

Traders claim that the absence of rain for prolonged spells coupled with increased heat waves are likely to reduce the kharif crop size substantially. Till a fortnight ago, traders were expecting only a small increase in prices as harvest of Maharashtra’s kharif onion will be delayed by about three weeks as the stock backlog was high.

“There was no rainfall even during Navaratri. Onion saplings have been wilting at some places, the size of the onion bulb will reduce, lowering the total output of the kharif crop,” said onion exporter Danish Shah.

Prices in other major onion growing and consuming centres in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and other states are still ruling at .`9-10/kg, barring Alwar in Rajasthan.

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