Onion prices in India drop by 60% in 2020

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The all-India average retail price of onions has dropped by 60 per cent this year to Rs 40 per kg on timely government interventions to boost the supply, according to Consumer Affairs Secretary reported by PTI. “In one month alone, the all-India average retail price of onion has dropped by 33.33 per cent to Rs 40 per kg today from Rs 60 per kg on November 30 this year,” said the secretary.

Since December 31, 2019, when the nationwide average price was as high as Rs 100 per kg, it has fallen to Rs 40 per kg now. In the national capital, the average price is even lower at Rs 30 per kg, as compared to Rs 100 per kg on December 31, 2019.

In Mumbai, the average price was Rs 48 per kg on the last day of 2020 against Rs 93 per kg a year ago, while it has fallen from Rs 90 to Rs 40 per kg in Kolkata and from Rs 85 to Rs 42 per kg in Chennai, according to data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

The government first completely banned onion export on September 14. After that, stock limit was imposed for three months from October 23 to December 31 on wholesalers and retailers. For the first time, the government prescribed quantities that traders are allowed to stock and this had an immediate impact.

According to the secretary, the government took steps to facilitate import from Afghanistan and other countries, as also to directly import onions through cooperative NAFED. Around 70,000-75,000 tonnes of onions were imported through private trades in 2020. NAFED also imported around 3,000 tonnes of onions. 

Retail onion prices also cooled down with the arrival of fresh kharif crop supply in the markets. The country’s kharif onion production has been as per expectations. Going forward, the government has decided to enhance the buffer stock of onion from 1 lakh tonnes to 1.5 lakh tonnes for the rabi season of 2021.

However, onion prices at Lasalgaon wholesale market in Maharashtra have been rising after the government announced the lifting of the export ban from January 1, 2021.

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