Onion market in turmoil, price at Rs 35

Bhubaneswar: The price of onion rode up to the `35- per kilo mark in city markets Thursday, leaving citizens and traders upset and the sales dwindling. Traders said they are now buying the produce at `2,800 to `3,000 per quintal. A worry is that the price could go up further in the coming days.
Braja Kishore Kali, an onion trader, said the arrivals have hit a low in Nasik market, and the problem would persist for weeks. As per sources, around 1,500 metric tonnes of onion was being brought to the state every day. After the steep rise in the price, the supply has dwindled to 1,100 metric tonne.
Orissa produces about 4.20 lakh metric tonne of onions a year while the state’s annual consumption is 2.28 lakh metric tonne. However, over 30 per cent of the total produce is wasted due to lack of storage facilities and post-harvest treatment.
Secretary of the Orissa Byabasayee Sangha, Sudhakar Panda, said the Nasik market faced odds due to heavy rain in the area and there was delayed supply of the produce from Karnataka, these being the nation’s two major onion baskets, propelling the price of the commodity to new heights. Contributing further to this supply crunch is panic buying by consumers. In the Kolkata market, price has gone up to `45-50 per kg Thursday, creating a serious worry.
Panda said that even bringing the commodity from Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh won’t help the state much now. He said, “We had given a proposal to the state government for setting a Maximum Retail Price (MRP) for onion, in the hope this will stabilize the price,” adding, “We had also proposed a no-profit no-loss scheme wherein the state government can buy and sell the commodity at a fair price of `25-26, that would be less than the market price.”
“There is no need for cold storage facility for onion, they can be stored in places with humidity control facility for longer life. But the state does not have this facility,” said a trader Subash Rout. The state government must take immediate steps to buy onion from other states as the production in Nasik won’t suffice.
“It is unfortunate that the state government conducted raids and created an impression that traders are the main culprits behind the price rise while it is an all-India issue. If traders did raise the price, then why has government failed to provide onion at lower prices,” asked Panda.
He also said the state government must understand that the problem will continue as long as the government does not understand the problems of farmers.

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