New Delhi: Even as people recoiled from the high price of onion, a vegetable that is part of their staple diet, the government warned that prices were unlikely to come down for another three weeks. However, the situation was expected to improve somewhat with the government moving to ban export of the commodity.
"Onion prices will remain high for the next three weeks and the situation is likely to improve only after two-three weeks. Ban on onion exports should help reduce the prices," agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said today.
The government allowed prior export sales to be made, but raised the minimum export price to $1,200 a ton, making those sales unviable.
Meanwhile, the managing director of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, or NAFED, confessed that he was unable to understand the reason for the price rise as there had been no major damage to the crop in the unusually prolonged spell of monsoon rains.
NAFED and another state-run cooperative, the National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India, will start selling onions at Rs35-40 a kilogram from Tuesday at various retail outlets, Onion prices in local markets have shot up to Rs60-70/kg in the past two months from Rs35-40 just a few days ago.
The government claimed that the rise was due to "hoarding and speculation".