Onion crop under cultivation has shown a substantial rise in some districts of Maharashtra. At Nashik district, which is the largest producer of onions in the country, the average area under kharif and late kharif cultivation have almost doubled from an average 20,000 hectares to about 48,000 hectares. Agriculture Commissioner of Maharashtra, Umakant Dangat, told Business Line that significantly higher prices and good rainfall in October have entailed farmers in Nashik planting more onions.
Onion trader Nitin Jain from the Lasalgaon market in Nashik said that wholesale prices have already started to decline.
At the end of trading hours on Friday, onions were retailing between Rs 1,800-3,200 a quintal (100 kg).
As arrivals increase, prices are expected to dip below Rs 2,000 per quintal.
Director of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, Changdev Holkar, said prices have started to ease.
“Actually, farmers who had earlier got handsome returns could start agitating for support prices by January 2014, given the fact that prices are set to crash,” he said.
In Yeola taluk, east of Nashik city, onion crop on an average is planted over 8,300 hectares by late-kharif.
This year, over 12,000 hectares have been planted with the golden bulb. In Malegaon, the crop area has increased by about four-fold from 2,100 to about 8,500 hectares.
Agriculture Superintendent of Solapur district, Rasik Naikwadi said the district was usually in the eight positions in the top-ten onion producing districts of Maharashtra.
This time though, with acreage under onion increasing from 7,000 hectares to about 14,000 hectares, they could take the third rank.