Onion prices are expected to remain somewhat firm till mid-February partly because countries such as Turkey and Sri Lanka have curbed exports of the vegetable even as Indian imports have pushed up its prices in global markets.
Only a substantial increase in domestic arrivals of the crop can help significantly ease onion prices in the local markets where average wholesale prices are still ruling at Rs 60-70/ kg, traders said.
While Turkey has banned onion exports due to rising prices, Sri Lanka has introduced some indirect trade restricting measures, they said.
“Import of onions from Sri Lanka has stopped as the process of issuing phytosanitary documents has been made strict by that country, while three days ago Turkey banned onion exports,” said Ajit Shah, a Mumbai-based onion importer.
“However, we do have lot of onion available from Egypt and Afghan- istan.” Retail prices for good quality onion are ruling between Rs 100 to Rs 150/ kg across different metros, traders said.
Arrivals of the kharif crop is growing slowly at major onion markets, but is still about 50% of the arrivals during same period of previous year, they said.
At the benchmark Lasalgaon APMC, the daily arrivals have reached 12,000-13,000 quintals in the last two to three days. During same period of previous year, the daily arrivals were 25,000-27,000 quintals.
Shah said that with domestic prices declining gradually and arrivals picking up slowly, the country will increasingly need lesser of the imported onions going ahead.
The landed price of imported onions is about Rs 55/kg, while the domestic prices are at about Rs 65/kg, traders said.
India is currently importing onions mainly from Afghanistan via Wagah border. While there is ample availability of the vegetable in Afghanistan, limited handling capacity at the Wagah border has curtailed imports, traders said. Though onion prices may keep on easing in the coming days, supplies may remain shorter than demand during January and some weeks of February as the damages caused by excess rainfall in November to onion nurseries as well as transplanted crop have been severe and widescale in Maharashtra and the neighbouring states, experts said.
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