NEW DELHI: Consumers are unlikely to get any relief from the high prices of vegetables in India, especially tomatoes and onions even in August. After tomatoes, costly onion rates will pinch the household budgets of the common man, according to the report by Crisil Market Intelligence and Analytics. The government on Saturday imposed an export duty of 40 percent on onions with immediate effect to check price rise and improve supplies in the domestic market.

The government banned the export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect, a move aimed at increasing the availability and checking the price of the commodity in the domestic market. The export duty is valid till December 31, 2023. The onion prices continued to rise in August and experts were saying that prices are likely to rise more in September. Beating past records, the Centre has procured 2.50 lakh tons of onion for the buffer in 2022-23.

However, despite the ample stock of onions in the country, due to a prolonged period of excessive summer heat this year has affected the quality of the merchandise and pushed up the prices of good quality onions. According to wholesale traders, the tomatoes price are likely to touch INR 300 per kilogram in the coming days and the prices of other vegetables are also likely to shoot up. Tomato prices have been under pressure for more than a month now. Besides, rain fury has worsened the supply, causing further price increases.

As per the data by the consumer affairs ministry, the all-India average retail price of onion was ruling at Rs 30.72 per kg on Saturday, with a maximum price at Rs 63 per kg and a minimum at Rs 10 per kg. Rating agency Crisil in its report on August 4, had warned that onion could be the next casualty. According to the report, prices of onions are likely to skyrocket in September. Onion prices are likely to start shooting up in the retail market towards the end of August before going up further to around Rs 60-70 per kg next month due to tightened supplies.

Crisil report said, “The supply-demand imbalance is expected to reflect in onion prices towards end-August. As per our ground interactions, prices are expected to show a significant increase from early September in the retail market, reaching up to Rs 60-70 per kg during the lean patch. However, prices will remain below the highs of 2020”. Onion supplies will improve once Kharif arrivals start in October, it said. The price movement in the festive months (October-December) is expected to stabilize, the report stated.

Meanwhile, the sale of subsidized onions began on Monday through National Cooperative Consumer Federation of India (NCCF) outlets and vans in 10 select locations in the national capital. The move to sell subsidized onions comes at a time when the market price of onions has started to go up in some key markets in the country. The NCCF will start selling onions from the government buffer stock at a discounted price of Rs 25 per kg in the national capital, in addition to its existing mandate to sell tomatoes at a subsidized rate. On Sunday, NCCF and NAFED started the sale of tomatoes at a discounted price of Rs 40 per kilogram in some cities. – Agencies