Garlic overproduction leads to huge drop in prices for Indian farmers

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Garlic prices have fallen by as much as Rs 2000 per quintal in India to lowest in three years due to massive arrivals from the growing regions of Saurashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Farmers are currently selling the produce at Rs 13.50 per kg against a high of Rs 75/kg around the same time last year, traders said.

Last year, parts of Saurahstra faced a drought-like situation. Farmers had anticipated poor sowing in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh too, but the production in these States was higher and increased the availability.

The National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) data shows that 2017-18 saw the highest exports of the bulb since 2014-15, when India exported 12,550.56 tonnes at Rs.26,752 per tonne, according to a Hindu Business Line report. So far in 2017-18, exports have touched 22,110.37 tonnes fetching, Rs.47,542 per tonne.

Currently, garlic sowing is on in Saurashtra and Madhya Pradesh and fresh arrivals are expected around May next year.

However, Gujarat’s farmers said that even though the crop has not yielded adequate returns, they will continue with garlic.

In the spot market, garlic prices fell about 82 per cent from Rs.1,550 per 20 kg in November 2016 to Rs.270 now.

According to NHRDF data, garlic sowing during 2015-16 stood at 81,170 hectares in Madhya Pradesh, 69,100 hectares in Rajasthan and 40,600 hectares in Gujarat.

Last year’s demonetisation programme of the government also affected the garlic growers, who avoided selling their produce and stored the crop. These farmers started bringing the crop to the market around this Diwali leading to the huge drop in prices.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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