New Delhi, Sept 6: Onion prices, which continues to rule at an unaffordable level of Rs 60-70 per kg, are expected to cool down in the coming days as new crop from south India has started hitting the market.
Since the last one and half months, retail price of onion skyrocketed upto Rs 80 per kg in most parts of the country, affecting consumer budget and forcing the government to curb exports and allow imports.
Asked when the prices would ease, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said: "New crop of onion from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has started arriving in the markets. Once the arrivals increase the prices will cool down in coming days."
However, the difference between the wholesale and retail price of onion is huge and retailers need to sell keeping a limited margin, he said on the sidelines of an event in the national capital.
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh together produce in the range of 38-40 lakh tonnes in a year while the country's total output is estimated at 166.55 lakh tonnes in 2012-13.
According to the official data, arrival of onion in wholesale mandi has increased almost three times to 30,000 tonnes in Bengaluru and 10,000 tonnes in Hyderabad, respectively, in the last one month.
Bahuguna said the arrivals are expected to increase from South India in the coming days and its supplies to consuming states will check prices of the vegetable.
In the national capital, wholesale prices of onion have firmed up by Rs 5 per kg to Rs 45-50 per kg as supplies have come down in the last few days. However, the situation is expected to improve with higher supplies coming from growing states.
Retail price of onion touched upto Rs 80 per kg in most parts of the country.
To provide relief to consumers, cooperative Nafed has been selling onions at lower price through its five outlets and mobile vans in Delhi.
Onion prices at Lasalgaon (Maharashtra), Asia's biggest onion market, have risen by Rs 3 per kg to Rs 43 per kg on Tuesday due to lower arrivals, the official data showed.