Onions sell at 50 paise per kg in wholesale market
Farmers of Pune are selling old onions - the stock of the 2018 Rabi season - at a throwaway price of 50 paise to Rs3 per kg, following the footsteps of their Nashik counterparts.
A source in the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Pune said the old onion stock usually finishes by December. But this year, they are still flowing into the market. At least 30 to 40 tonnes are coming to the APMC, Pune, daily.
Shivaji Ghule, a farmer in the Parner taluka in Ahmednagar, , said he still had 20 tonnes of the old onion stock, while almost 40 tonnes he had harvested rotted in the past two-three months because there were no takers.
“I had sold about 2-3 tonnes of this old stock in the Chandannagar Wholesale Vegetable Market 15 days ago and got 50 paise per kg. It is not feasible to spend so much on sowing, harvesting and transporting onions to markets, and then get 50 paise to a rupee per kg,” he said.
Ghule said if he harvests around 10 tonnes of onions per acre, it takes Rs50,000 to transport and unload them in the wholesale markets, while the cost of producing the tuber is approximately Rs20,000 for 10 tonnes.
“Now, I have almost 20 tonnes of the old stock rotting with me. But I do not wish to sell them because transporting them will be costlier than what the produce will fetch me,” he said. Another farmer from Shrigonda left as many as 55 gunny sacks of onions in Market Yard on Friday because he could not sell them in the past two days. “I had to return home and did not want to spend on transporting these sacks back,” he said.
An official of APMC, Pune, said the old onion stocks were from the Rabi season of 2018 and almost a year-old, considering that the current season is Rabi 2019. “On an average, the APMC Pune market is still getting about 5,000 to 6,000 gunny sacks of Rabi 2018 onions. A sack has about 50kg of onions,” he said.
The official said the prices of onions had been very low for months. Hence, farmers began stocking the produce in anticipation of prices increasing in the future.
Sunil Kumbharkar, who owns a vegetable wholesale firm in Market Yard, said 50% of the old stock coming into the wholesale market were damaged.
Sunil Deokar, an onion wholesaler in APMC, Market Yard, said, “The prices we are giving for old onions range from Re 1 to Rs3. Though there aren’t many takers for this stock, hotels and restaurants show interest in them.”
By BOA Bureau