Companies & Sectors
Onion prices come down to Rs800-Rs900 per quintal due to adequate supply, well-stocked inventories

Lower offtake by exporters and arrival of the ‘kharif’ harvest crop has brought down prices by Rs200/quintal in the wholesale market. But there has been a dip in demand

Onion prices have come down across key markets after the fresh arrival of the kharif harvest in addition to the already adequate supply of the produce in the market. Lower offtake by exporters due to higher minimum export price (MEP) has also impacted wholesale prices.

RP Gupta, director, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation, told Moneylife, “In the Lasalgaon market, wholesale prices are currently in the range of Rs800-Rs900 per quintal—down by Rs200 (per quintal) from the earlier average price. The current price level will remain stable for a few months now.”

He added, “There is adequate supply—but at the same time, it has been noticed that there is a dip in consumption and demand. Around 80% of the current supply is from the stored onions, and 20% is the fresh kharif harvest. So there shouldn’t be any (major) impact on (future) prices.”

Today, at the Lasalgaon market, the country’s leading onion-growing region, around 8,000 quintals of onions arrived at the modal rate of Rs851 per quintal.

A few traders say that these prices are mainly due to poor exports because of the high MEP—and the lower quality of the produce available in the market, as it was stored in anticipation of higher prices. But experts maintain that exports are going on and the quality of the onions is “good”.

“The supply of the onions—both from the fresh harvest and the stored crop—has been of good quality,” says Mr Gupta.

Ashok Walunj, director, onion-potato market, APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee), Vashi, Navi Mumbai, told Moneylife, “Prices have come down because of the excess supply. Fresh crop has also arrived in the market.”

When asked about the effect of lower exports on the prices and quality of the onions, Mr Walunj explained, “There has been good arrival of good-quality produce in the market. There have also been sufficient exports.”

In the Mumbai market, wholesale prices of onion are in the range of Rs6-Rs12/kg and in the retail market it is between Rs15-16/kg.


India’s biotech sector to grow 20% in future

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD of Biocon, also referred to regulatory delays, import-export delays and restrictions, lack of venture funding and the listing norms that are unfavourable to innovation-led biotech companies

Bangalore: India’s biotech sector is expected to grow at a robust 20% per annum in the near future, given the growing demand for biopharmaceuticals, biosimilars and vaccines, reports PTI quoting a veteran in the field.

Biofuels would also offer a huge growth opportunity in biotech, chairman and managing director of Biocon, the country’s largest biotech company by revenue, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw told PTI here.

“We are entering the era of bioeconomy, where biotechnology can provide powerful solutions to some of the grave challenges that we face today: food scarcity, energy deficit, environmental damage, unmet medical needs and industrial pollution,” she said.

Ms Mazumdar-Shaw said the size of the country’s biotech sector had reached $3.5 billion in 2010 and is poised for robust growth in all segments of biotechnology.

“India is already a world leader in vaccine production, Bt cotton and bio-pharmaceuticals, especially bio-similars,” she said. “India is also a large producer of industrial enzymes for green technologies & bioremediation. We also have critical mass in tissue culture-based cultivation.”

However, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw also referred to regulatory delays, import-export delays and restrictions, lack of venture funding and the listing norms that are unfavourable to innovation-led biotech companies.

“The inherent risk associated with gestational time lines involved in developing biotech products is a huge deterrent for investors. Example, Bt brinjal,” she pointed out.

Asked about her vision for Bangalore-headquartered Biocon, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw, who has been named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, said: “I am committed to pursuing our strategy of delivering affordable drugs for global markets that make a difference to healthcare.”


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