Dip in onion production in Perambalur district, which is the second largest cultivator in the State, has spiralled the prices across the delta region.
According to data available with the National Horticulture Board, the State had produced 3,98,930 tonnes on 36,310 hectares last year, which was declared as ‘drought year’.
However, there was production of 5,56,480 tonnes on 37,120 hectares for the year 2011-12.
Perambalur district is said to be one of the big contributors in terms of onion production.
However, there was a deceleration in production last year, which farmers attributed to severe drought.
The low production in the district was one of the main factors for price rise of onions, they felt.
“Perambalur is the second largest district in the State in onion cultivation, which is being done on 3,500 acres” said V Neelakandan, Perambalur district secretary, Thamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam.
He added that the farm gate price of small onions was between Rs 10 and Rs 15 per kg previously. On the contrary, the average farm gate price was raised to Rs 45 this year due to severe drought.
A Mani, a farmer of Pommanappadi in Perambalur, told Express, “I am cultivating onion on three acres. Last year, the yield was less as severe drought hit the region. Earlier, it was high.”
He said he expected a better yield in the coming year.
Big Onions Rule Rate
The prices of big onion in Tiruchy are swelling and the ‘grade-one onion’, which has a diameter of 27mm and above and in colours pink to red, is being sold at Rs 60 per kg due to less inflow from other States.
The big onion price is now ruling retail markets due to heavy rains and lesser availability.
“We are selling big onions in accordance with the quality. The price starts from Rs 35 and goes up to Rs 60, based on quality. Onions were sold at an average of Rs 30 per kilo a month ago,” said N Mahalingam, an onion trader at the Gandhi Market.
It may be recalled that the Centre augmented the Minimum Export Price of big onions from $650 to $900, so that domestic supply would not be affected by the plummeting prices of onion.