NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: With onion prices going north because of heavy rains damaging standing crops in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the Centre on Wednesday announced easing of its import norms till December 15. Parallelly, Tamil Nadu kept options open to supply onions through ration shops if needed.
While the retail cost in Chennai was over Rs 100 per kg, state Minister for Cooperation Sellur K Raju tapped the Farm Fresh network for now to sell the kitchen staple at a subsidised Rs 45 a kg.
India is already importing onions from Egypt and Iran. While Maharashtra’s popular Lasalgaon variety of big onions fetches a retail price of Rs 90-100 per kg, the Egypt and Iran consignments come at half the cost — Rs 40-50. The downside is the imported varieties aren’t as hot on the palate as the Indian ones.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry said it will offload more onion from its buffer stock into the open market to contain the price rise.
An estimated kharif crop of 37 lakh tonnes is likely to start arriving in the mandis and soften prices, it added.
To facilitate its import, the ministry said, “the government has relaxed the conditions for fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate (PSC) under the Plant Quarantine Order (PQ), 2003 for import up to December 15, 2020.”
In other words, fumigation will now be done after the consignment lands in India.
Sanjay Pingale, an onion trader at the Navi Mumbai mandi, said 40-50 containers of onion from Egypt and Iran are imported each week.