CHANDIGARH:With onion prices skyrocketing to Rs 60 per kg, Punjab-based traders have started importing the bulb from Afghanistan through the Attari-Wagah land border.
Sources said Indian importers were importing Afghan onion under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement.Since 2011 onion exports to India via Attari had been banned by Pakistan.
Talking to Express, Rajdeep Uppal, director of Narain Eximp Corporation, said, “For the last four days onions have been imported from Afghanistan via the Attari-Wagah border in small quantities, as the onion prices have gone up manifold across the country. At present some four-five trucks are coming daily through the border and each truck carries 30-40 tonnes of the crop. These are packed in gunny bags with a capacity of 120 kg each. The problem is that the onions which have come are not ripe and not quality ones. They are coming mainly from Kabul. But we are expecting that in a week’s time, 10 to 15 truckloads of ripe, good-quality onion will arrive from there.”
The Aghan onions are a little bigger than the ones grown in Punjab.
“We expect this(imports) will help to reducing the price by Rs 10 per kg,” said Uppal. India is the world’s second-largest producer of onion after China. Yet it has the third-lowest yield per hectare among the 20 biggest producers.
■ Centre hikes minimum export price of onions by $275 per tonne
■ Wholesale onion prices today touched Rs 57 per kg at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra
■ Tender for import of 10,000 tonnes of onions floated
■ Export price was last raised to $425 per tonne from $250 on June 26