CHENNAI: The price of onion varieties witnessed a sudden crash within a span of 10 days following a spurt in the arrival of onions from major production centres including Maharasthra. Traders from Karnataka and farmers in Tamil Nadu are puzzled over this sudden crash of wholesale and retail prices in Chennai and other cities. The prices of onions that hovered between Rs 40 (medium quality) and Rs 50 a kg (top quality) last month, came down to Rs 15 and Rs 30 a kg respectively this week.
Traders in Koyambedu market said that the recent floods had affected production in major onion production centres in the state — Dharamapuri, Dindigul, Tiruchy and Theni. However, farmers managed to harvest them and brought them to the markets. V R Soundararajan, from the Koyambedu Traders Association, said, “Since onions can’t be stored in cold storage and have a poor shelf life, fresh onions which did not attract traders were sold for Rs 10-15 a kg.”
“We can afford to buy extra onion as onion prices have dropped by up to Rs 20 a kg in the open market. We hope the rate stays low in the coming days,” said M Sankari, a homemaker in Chennai. At present, the Koyambedu market is receiving an adequate supply of onions with an average of 70 trucks arriving daily. The market received 1,050 tons of onions this week — more than 30% from Maharashtra. This increase in supply has brought down the prices.
“During this time of the year, the onion prices dip as late kharif crops arrive in Maharashtra, particularly from Ahmednagar and Solapur districts. The prices would stabilise within the next three to four weeks,” said Soundararajan.
Not just onions, but the prices of other vegetables like carrots, green peas, potatoes, tomatoes and brinjal have crashed this month. However, the prices of drumsticks have shot up. They were sold at Rs 30 per kg last month but are now sold at Rs 100-120 per kg at Koyambedu.
Traders said this was because there were no major production centres within Tamil Nadu and they depended solely on Baroda, Gujarat where the production had reduced this season.