Onion export from the country has declined in the first quarter of the current financial year due to scarcity of good or export quality produce in the market. The unseasonal rain and hailstorms earlier this year damaged the summer crop in Nashik district, which contributes 70% of the export.
The country exported 300,000 tonnes of onions in the first quarter of the current fiscal, a drop of 44.34% compared with the 53.9 million tonnes sent abroad during the corresponding period in the last financial year, according to sources from Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board.
The decline in quantity of good or export quality onions arriving at the country’s largest wholesale market at Lasalgaon due to a shorter shelf life of summer crop had led to the drop in the export.
Nanasaheb Patil, director of the National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation of India, said “At present, the summer crop harvested in April and May is arriving in the market. Around 50% of this crop was damaged due to unseasonal rain and hailstorms. As a result, the quality of onions has been badly damaged.”
Patil, who is also the chairman of Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee, said, “Of the total arrivals in the district APMCs, the arrival of good or export quality onions is only 20-25%. Moreover, shelf life of the summer crop, which is around six months, has reduced to three-four months. There are chances of spoiling the onions during transporting. These are the reasons the onion export has been affected.”
According to sources, around 41,984 hectares of the total 46,987 hectares under rabi onion cultivation in Nashik district have been damaged due to unseasonal rain and hailstorms in February and March. There has been average 50-60% damage of the crop. This may decline the yield to around 6 tonnes a hectare on the damaged area against the average yield of 16 tonnes last year.