From highs of ₹200, onion prices cra’sh to the ₹35-40 range

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After reaching highs of over ₹200 per kg, the price of onions is now seeing a steep cr’ash with the new crop harvested over the last two weeks flooding the market. This has resulted in a glut of onions, say traders.

A kilo of onions, even of the best quality, is now trading at the ₹35 — ₹40 levels in the wholesale market, leaving many farmers who hoped to cash in on the shortage unhappy. They are retailing around ₹40 — ₹50.

Traders and officials, going by the ground report on onion crop patterns and expected arrivals in the market, predict that the glut will only increase. “The prices will fall below ₹20 by the month-end and may even fall below ₹10 by February-end,” predicted Ravi Kumar of the Bangalore Onions and Potatoes Traders’ Association.

This has left the farmers worried. At present, onions from Vijayapura and Chitradurga districts and the Nasik region of Maharashtra are flo’oding the wholesale markets in the State.

“The earlier crop suffered massive da’mage owing to heavy rains. Expecting high prices, farmers — even those who used to grow maize for a second crop — started growing onions,” Mr. Kumar explained. More onions are expected to come from Punjab and Madhya Pradesh by February, even as supply from within Karnataka is also expected to go up. This will further lead to a cra’sh in prices, traders predict.

“Though the price of onions shot up recently, we did not make much profit, as the yield was very low. Onions had turned wet and were decomposing in the fields itself. What we could sell was very low. But given the prices were started growing them again, only to see the prices cra’shing in a free fall. It will be tough to bear these losses,” said Basavaraj, a farmer from Vijayapura.

However, G. Srinivasan, Director, HOPCOMS, remains optimistic and says that the demand for onions will also increase especially as many households had limited or even stopped purchasing the staple ingredient for a while. “There will be a stabilization of prices, but may not cr’ash,” he said

Coconut farmers sustain losses

Coconut farmers, too, are bearing the brunt of the price cr’ash. The price of a quintal of copra (dry coconut) that was in the range of ₹17,000-₹18,000, a few months ago, was trading at ₹11,500 on Saturday at Tiptur APMC, the prime coconut market in the State. The prices of coconuts have also seen a dip, from over ₹20 per nut to ₹17 per nut over the last few days. However, they are still being sold in the range of ₹25 and ₹30 in the retail market.

Devraj, a coconut farmer from Tiptur, said the present copra and coconut prices will not fetch them the cultivation cost.

“The input costs – diesel, labor, and fertilizers – have gone up. The cost of copra should at least be around ₹15,000 per quintal if farmers have to recover the cultivation cost. Presently, we are reeling under losses,” he added.

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