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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Delhi's AAP Govt seeks Central support in curbing price spiral of Onions !!!

The onion (Allium cepa) (Latin 'cepa' = onion), also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is used as a vegetable and is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. Actually, it is not this bulb onion, which is used to make tasteful sambar…. ..it is the smaller ones – ‘the shallot’ (Allium cepa var. aggregatum).

Onions make people cry –  at times, it is not that property of Onions that makes Indians cry …. ~ but  thespiralling increase in prices reaching Rs.80 per kg and more that does.  A few years back, when onions became the butt of cartoons,  there was this  amazing deal that Groupon offered in India.  People keep telling that you can purchase things at unbelievably low prices on the net…. Groupon India, home of India’s biggest discounts and best deals online- offered something totally unrealistic and unbelievable.  A peep on to their website revealed that lunched in April 2011, Groupon (formerly Crazeal) claims to feature one daily deal on the best things to do, see, eat, and buy across India. They state that it is not  about being cheap! It’s about presenting their customers with the best quality merchants promoting themselves in a truly crazy fashion! At a time when prices sky-rocketed the e-commerce firm Groupon sought to boost its popularity by offering a mouth-watering deal by pricing it at Rs 9 a kilo.

In 2010, there was dramatic rise in the cost of onions across markets in India. The crisis was caused by errant rainfall in the onion producing regions which led to a shortage of onion production. The crisis caused political tension in the country and was described as "a grave concern" by the then  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Now the prices of onions have been skyrocketing to over Rs 80 per kg in the Capital and  theAamAadmi Party government has sought intervention by the Union government to overcome the crisis.The government has sought the Centre’s assistance in procuring bulk supplies of onions from states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to meet the demand in Delhi. The unabated price rise has also scuppered the Delhi government’s plan to sell onions through mobile vans.Delhi’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Asim Ahmed Khan on Sunday urged the Union agriculture minister to facilitate bulk procurement of onions in order to curb rising prices. The Food and Civil Supplies Minister said the Center’s support is required to supplement the efforts of Delhi government for ensuring sufficient supplies of onions in order to contain their retail prices in the market.The move comes after facing flak for not procuring onions in advance despite being cautioned by Nafed.

For the past three months, central government agency Nafed and the Union Ministry of Agriculture had repeatedly written to the Delhi government alerting it about the imminent price rise of onions and potatoes. The agency had suggested that the government should stock up by buying onions at Rs 19 per kg. However, according to Nafed, the Delhi government did not bother to reply to these letters, thereby forcing Delhiites to buy onions at Rs 70-80 per kg in the open market.

Today, comes the news that wholesale prices of onion fell below the Rs 50 per kg mark at the Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia’s biggest onion market, due to curbs on exports and fear of action against hoarding.Even at Azadpurmandi in Delhi, wholesale onion price declined by Rs 3-5 per kg to Rs 53 today on increase in arrival of new crop from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.However, retail onion prices across the country continue to rule as high as Rs 80 per kg.

At Lasalgaon, which sets the price trend across the country, the wholesale onion price declined to Rs 48.5 per kg today from Rs 57 per kg last week, according to the data maintained by Nashik-based National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF).Also, fear of action against hoarding along with MMTC importing 10,000 tonnes of onion helped, they added.On Monday, the Centre had asked the Maharashtra government to crack down on hoarders and take adequate measures.

Thanks to increased arrival of new crop from in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the wholesale prices in Delhi markets have declined by 3-5 per kg to Rs 53 today, Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) member said.The arrival of early kharif crop of onion in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has picked up momentum, which would help improve supply across the country till harvesting of new crop begins in Maharashtra, the country's largest onion growing state, from October onwards.

So crisis seems to have been averted now !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Aug 2015.

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