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Heat and Export Demand Drive Onion Prices Up in Odisha

19 June 2024, New Delhi: The price of onions has seen a significant rise recently, with retail prices ranging from Rs 40 to Rs 50 per kilogram, compared to Rs 25 to Rs 33 just last week. This increase has been attributed by traders’ associations in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to a shortage in supply and increased wastage due to prevailing high temperatures. Onions of lower quality are being sold at Rs 40 to Rs 45, while those of better quality fetch Rs 50 per kilogram. Wholesale prices are Rs 7 to Rs 8 cheaper than retail prices. The cost of three kilograms of onions is Rs 1-2 less per kilogram compared to the retail rate.

Odisha primarily sources its onions from Nashik in Maharashtra and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. According to Debendra Sahoo, President of the Chhatra Bazaar Traders’ Union, “Due to increased exports from Nashik to other countries, onion supplies to Odisha have decreased. Additionally, a significant portion of the stock has been damaged due to the heat, forcing vendors to raise prices.”

The vegetable markets in Bhubaneswar alone require 70 to 80 tonnes of onions daily, while Aiginia, the largest wholesale market for onions and potatoes, needs 200 to 250 tonnes daily. Chhatra Bazaar in Cuttack requires nearly 50 tonnes daily. Kabiraj Swain, President of the Vegetable Traders’ Association of Bhubaneswar, noted that prices are expected to remain high until the arrival of the new crop. “The Kurnool crop arrives before Ganesh Puja. Farmers will only harvest the new crop after sufficient rainfall, so until then, onion prices will likely stay elevated,” he explained.

Prices of other vegetables have also risen. Potatoes now cost Rs 90 for three kilograms in the Twin City, up from Rs 80 last week. Pumpkins are selling at Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kilogram, while tomatoes and brinjals range from Rs 40 to Rs 50 per kilogram. The ‘desi’ variety of pointed gourd is priced at Rs 80 per kilogram, while the hybrid variety costs Rs 35 per kilogram. “Vegetable production in Odisha is currently very low, and whatever is being cultivated here will only be available after the onset of rains,” added Sahoo.

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