New Delhi, Sept 19: As the soaring onion prices continues to bring tear in buyers' eyes, the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday assured that onion prices will be eased in 2-3 weeks as fresh output arrives from Maharashtra and other states.
"After talking to farmers and traders, my own assessment is that arrival of new kharif crop will increase substantially in next two-three weeks and prices will come down," Pawar told a news agency in an interview.
"Supplies are also likely to improve as small quantities of imported onions have arrived, while outward shipments have slowed after a minimum export price was reimposed", he said.
Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said his party was not responsible for hoarding in Maharashtra, the largest onion-growing state, which stores the maximum crop to cater to lean periods.
He also said the rise in onion prices has contributed to inflation, while prices of other food items such as rice and wheat have been stable.
Stating that onion prices are under pressure now due to heavy rains, Pawar said, "Harvesting of early kharif crop in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has begun, but rains have caused transporation problem."
Pawar, who also held discussions with Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas, said the arrival of new kharif crop, which normally starts in the October-November period in Maharashtra and other states, will improve the supply and price situation in the next two-three weeks.
Since July, onion prices have seen a sharp increase both in wholesale and retail markets in most parts of the country. In the national capital, retail prices of onion are ruling as high as 80 per kg on short supply from key growing states.
Earlier, while talking to a news channel, Pawar had said, "I'm not dealing with this. The consumer affairs ministry is dealing with this."
The onion prices have already burnt a whole in the pockets of common men.
He had also said, "There is a lot of talk about the rise in onion prices. However, when prices fall no one shows any concern for the farmers. When farmers are getting more money for their produce we should not complain."
On Wednesday, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had said the prices have nothing to do with the government. "Why don't you ask the traders this? The government is not the one selling onions."
The rising prices of onions and other vegetables have already burnt a whole in the pockets of common men.
(With PTI inputs)