KURNOOL: Even as the cost of onions in the retail market refuses to scale down, its price at the Kurnool Agriculture Market took a sudden dip on Saturday, much like a stock market crash.
The inflated price of Rs 12,800 per quintal on Friday and Rs 13,010 on Thursday, nosedived to Rs 9,300 per quintal on Saturday. However, there was no let-up in its retail price or demand across the State.
According to market yard officials, two issues were said to be the reasons behind the sudden drop in onion prices. One, was the decrease in participation of traders in the auction, following the vigilance raids on lorries transporting onions along inter-State borders, the other was the supply of poor quality of the vegetable, they said. On Friday, as many as 20 onion-laden lorries were caught by vigilance officials as the transporters reportedly failed to display ‘proper documents’. Following this, the traders initially decided not to partake in the transactions at the agriculture market but dropped the idea due to assurances from the higher officials of the marketing department. The traders were also requested to market only half the number of onions out of the State due to its massive shortage.
On Saturday, the sudden drop in prices came as a shock to several farmers, who had come to the Kurnool yard with the hope of making some profit. The arrival of onions at the market yard had peaked over the last 20 days as it touched even 10,000 quintals a day. Officials said such quantum of stock at a time when the crop in multiple States suffered damage due to heavy rains was abnormal. Due to inflated demand, the price of onions touched an all-time high of Rs 13,010.
It was thought that the trend would continue and the price would even touch Rs 15,000 per quintal-mark by the season-end. However, this was not the case. It might be noted here that onion was priced between Rs 200 to Rs 600 per quintal in the corresponding period last year. This left several farmers disappointed and the extent of its cultivation also came down this year due to it.
“It was rather shocking and disappointing. We did not expect such a drop all of a sudden,” observed KP Srinivasulu, a commission agent at the Kurnool Agriculture Market Yard.
R Venkatarami Reddy, a farmer from Bethamcharla, said he brought 50 quintals of onions to the yard on the day, but was forced to stock them in a warehouse. “I never expected that prices would witnesses such a steep fall. Rs 9,800 was paid only for a few lots, while most of them were sold at Rs 9,000 per quintal. Tomorrow (on Sunday), I will sell the stock for whatever price I get. If I don’t, then the quality of onions would deter,” he said with disappointment writ large on his face.
Kurnool agriculture market yard secretary R Vijaya Lakshmi said the yard received more than 2.5 lakh quintals of onion since the beginning of the season and that the supply might further reduce.”