After onions, it is the turn of garlic to touch Rs 100-a-kg level. Garlic is selling at Rs 100 to Rs 130 in retail in metro cities as the maximum wholesale price in Delhi has touched Rs 100 a kg. The excuse for the sudden jump in prices, despite a record production last year, is an expected delay in new crop by about 20 days.
The wholesale prices in Madhya Pradesh more than doubled in a month and have now decreased by Rs 20 a kg in just four to five days. "I have not seen this kind of price fluctuation in any commodity," said a 65-year-old garlic trader from Indore, adding: "The cartel is at work again.
An expected delay of just about 15 to 20 days in new crop arrival is not a strong reason for prices to fluctuate so much." "There is enough stock of garlic in the country," said RP Gupta, director, Nashikbased National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF).
The stored garlic is sufficient to meet domestic demand as India had a record garlic production of 12.5 lakh tonne in 2012-13. The maximum wholesale prices in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune are Rs 80 to Rs 100 while the average price is Rs 50-60. "Garlic prices shot up from Rs 30-40 a kg before Diwali to Rs 80-90 as the new crop is likely to be delayed by about a month," said Naginbhai Shah, a leading garlic trader from Mumbai. Fresh crop harvest begins from January.
However, the traders expect the fresh crop to hit markets only in February. "The rainfall has damaged garlic crop in most parts of the country," said an Indore-based trader. Surendra Budhi Raj, president of Azadpur Garlic Merchants Association, said: "Garlic prices have increased as the farmers are releasing very less stocks, anticipating a price surge."
Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the leading garlic producers accounting for about 50% to 60% of the total garlic production in the country. Pradip Joshi, assistant secretary, Indore APMC, said: "Wholesale prices of garlic have softened by Rs 20 a kg from the past two days as the arrivals have increased." Though the wholesale prices in Indore, a major garlic market, have plunged considerably, the traders expect the prices to remain volatile till the new crop arrives in the market.
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