Onion prices crash in Delhi, Nashik wholesale mkts to Rs 5/kg

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Wholesale onions rates fell to aslow as Rs 5 per kg in the national capital today on the backof improved supply, but retail prices of the vegetableremained high at Rs 40 a kg.

Onions were being sold at Rs 5-20 per kg in Azadpur mandi-- Asia''s biggest wholesale fruit and vegetables market,traders said.

They added it will take a few days for the fall in pricesto reflect in retail markets. The retail prices have beenhovering at the level of Rs 40 a kg for the past four to fivedays.

"There is no shortage in supply of onions in the Azadpurmarket now, as a result of which the price has gone downsignificantly," Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board ChairmanBrahm Yadav said, adding that crisis is fast dissipating.

Onion wholesale rates touched Rs 65/kg in the last weekof December, moving consumers to tears. Retail prices had hitthe roof at Rs 70-85 a kg at that time in Delhi and othermetros.

Rising prices of onion and other vegetables like tomatohad flared the food inflation up to a high of 18.32 per centfor the week ended December 25.

The government, which faced criticism over high foodprices, took various measures to rein in price rise, includingremoval of import duty on onion and a ban on exports of thecommodity. The rate of price rise of food articles slipped toa level of 15.52 per cent in the first week of January.

Onion prices have dropped in Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon,the main onion markets at Nashik, the main producing area, aswell.

Onions were available at Rs 13 a kg in Lasalgaon today,the National Horticultural Research Development Foundation(NHRDF) -- which publishes daily wholesale rates of thevegetable in prominent cities -- said.

Similarly, onion wholesale prices fell to Rs 14/kg atPimpalgaon today, the NHRDF said.

The drop is significant as wholesale rates in thesemarkets stood at Rs 17/kg and Rs 18/kg yesterday.

The sharp fall in prices has, however, triggered anotherproblem as onion farmers in Nashik, Maharashtra, yesterdaystaged an agitation in front of the Lasalgaon AgricultureProduce Marketing Committee''s offices to protest low prices.

Rajendra Sharma, the General Secretary of the OnionMerchants Association in the Azadpur market told PTI thatwholesale prices of good quality onions are expected to fallto Rs 15/kg by the end of January and Rs 10/kg in February.

New Food Minister K V Thomas had said recently that onionprices will improve from end-January. More PTI SNS ARV NS

Meanwhile, a total of 750 tonnes of onion out of the 1,000 tonnes imported by the government from Pakistan to boostdomestic supply have reached the national capital so far.

The remaining 250 tonnes are on the way from the MundraPort in Gujarat and they are expected to reach here in thenext 3-4 days, official sources said.

The government has been under fire over rising prices,especially of food items. Besides onion, prices of vegetableslike tomato have put the government in a tight spot.

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