Centre steps in as vegetable prices soar

Onion stocks released to cool prices; rain damage pushes tomato over ₹50 a kg

Amid a rise in prices of three key vegetables, the Centre has said onion prices are being stabilised with the release of buffer stock, while efforts are on to soften the rates of tomato and potato.

Onion stocks are being released in the market on a first in, first out basis from the last week of August to moderate prices and ensure minimum storage loss, it said.

“Till October 12, a total of 67,357 tonnes have been released in major markets such as Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kochi and Raipur,” the Consumer Affairs Ministry said on Sunday.

In addition, Grade-B onions (stocks which are below the fair average quality) are disposed of in local markets in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, it said.

The Ministry further said the onion stocks are also available for supply to central and State agencies involved in retail marketing either at an ex-storage rate of ₹21 a kg or landed price after including transportation costs.

In retail markets, onion was ruling at ₹42 per kg in Chennai, ₹44 per kg in Delhi, at ₹45 per kg in Mumbai and ₹57 per kg in Kolkata on October 14.

The retail price of tomatoes meanwhile soared to ₹93 per kg in some cities on sluggish arrival in mandis amid reports of crop damage, owing to unseasonal rains, according to the government data. Among metro cities, tomatoes were costliest at ₹93 per kg in Kolkata, followed by ₹60 per kg in Chennai, ₹59 per kg in Delhi and ₹53 per kg in Mumbai.

Even in the wholesale markets, tomatoes were sold at ₹84 per kg in Kolkata, at ₹52 per kg in Chennai, ₹30 per kg in Mumbai and ₹29.50 per kg in Delhi.

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