Global Economy

Onion & Potato prices crash, but garlic is at Rs 500/kg

Kolkata | Pune: Wholesale prices of kitchen staples onion and potato have fallen sharply in the past couple of months, easing inflation for households and the government but leaving farmers worried about the potential impact on their livelihoods.
Potato prices have fallen 30% in a month following bumper harvest while onion prices have crashed by more than 75% in two months due to an export ban enforced since December 7. However, the retail price of garlic has reached as much as ₹500/kg as erratic weather has delayed the harvest of the rabi crop.
Onion prices have plunged as almost all the onion growing states have reported bumper production of kharif and late kharif crops at a time when the government has banned export of the kitchen essential. Potato prices have been weighed down by good harvest in Uttar Pradesh, the largest producer of the tuber, while garlic prices have shot up to ₹500 per kg in the last one month from ₹250-300 per kg due to lower production.


In the two months since the government imposed the ban on onion exports on December 7, wholesale prices crashed by more than 80% leading to widespread unrest among farmers in Maharashtra, the top onion producing state.

Following the ban, wholesale markets in Maharashtra began overflowing with harvests, which forced the market committee administration to ask farmers to restrain from getting their produce to the markets for a few days.

“The central government had banned export of onions when the wholesale prices had crossed ₹40/kg, which led to prices crashing to ₹7-8/kg. We would like to know how much the onion prices need to fall further so that the central government can find it comfortable to open the exports,” said Bharat Dighole, president, Maharashtra Onion Growers’ Association.
A team of top central government officials is currently on a visit to the onion growing regions of Maharashtra to assess the ground situation, an official said. “The visit is for our internal purpose,” said the official, asking not to be named.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh has enjoyed bumper potato crop, with production of more than 20 million tonnes this year, according to trade estimates. Rajinder Sharma, a trader in Azadpur mandi said, “Prices at the wholesale level have come down by more than 30% in the last one month as the arrivals from UP are good.” At the retail level, good quality potatoes are fetching ₹18 – 20 per kg.

According to trade data, last year, the wholesale price of garlic was around ₹60 -80 per kg with retail prices at ₹120-150 per kg.

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