Chennai: The onion production for the year 2019-20 is estimated to be 22 per cent down over last year.
As per the estimates of the department of agriculture, the combined Kharif and late Kharif production for 2019-20 is estimated at 54.73 lakh metric tonnnes as against 69.91 lakh metric tonnes in 2018-19.
During 2019-20, there was upto four week delay in sowing and the sown area for onions in the Kharif season too had declined due to the late arrival of monsoon.
Further, the untimely prolonged rains in the major onion growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh during the harvesting period of September and October, caused damage to the standing crops in these regions.
All these factors have adversely impacted the production and quality of onions in the Kharif season.
The rains during September-October had also affected the transportation of the crop from these regions to consuming areas. This led to limited availability of Kharif onion in the market and put pressure on its prices, the ministry said.
Onion prices had crossed Rs 150-200 per kg in some cities and are now back to Rs 100 per kg. While the increased import and newly harvested crop was presumed to result in a supply glut in the coming weeks, the lower production estimates can make the market cautious.
The government said that it is serious in dealing with the issue and has also written to chief ministers over it.
The Central government further said that it was taking several steps such as creation of onion buffer of about 57,373 metric tonnes during Rabi 2019, withdrawal of incentive on export of onions under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), imposition of Minimum Export Price and subsequent ban on exports of onions.