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04 June, 2020, 03:04 AM IST

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ONION

Onion prices may stay firm on low imports

Only a substantial increase in domestic arrivals of the crop can help significantly ease onion prices in the local markets.

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It is expected that the country's dependence on edible oil imports will increase further as heavy rai...

The great onion crisis of 2019 may be coming to an end

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  • The cabinet secretary has urged states to procure imported onions after a few state governments reported to have withdrawn their demands on arrival of shipments from Turkey and Egypt.

    The central government is currently offering imported onions to state governments at an average landed cost of Rs 58/kg for further distribution in the retail market. It is also bearing the transportation cost.

    Besides onion, production of potato -- another important kitchen staple -- is estimated to rise to 51.94 million tonne this year from 50.19 million tonne last year, while tomato production is also pegged slightly higher at 19.32 million tonne as against 19 million tonne in the said period. The ministry has projected marginal drop in production of beans, parwal, pumpkin and tapioca this year.

    Last week, govt had reduced the stock holding limit for retailers to 5 tonnes from 10 tonnes while that on wholesalers to 25 tonnes from 50 tonnes as onion prices were ruling high up to Rs 150 per kg. Retail onion prices have risen in the past two months due to short supply owing to fall in production of kharif (summer) crop after heavy rains.

    Onion prices have been ruling high for past few weeks due to fall in production of the Kharif crop following unseasonal rainfall in key growing states, including Maharashtra. The price of onion was ruling at around Rs 120/kg in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, while it was around Rs 100/kg in Delhi on Friday, as per the latest data.

    The government had created a buffer stock of 56,000 tonnes for the current year but it was not sufficient.

    Imported onions have started arriving. About 1,160 tonne has reached India. Additional 10,560 tonne of shipments are expected to arrive in the next 3-4 days Both red and yellow onions have been imported from Turkey, Egypt and Afghanistan. The shipments are landing at Mumbai port, the official said.

    Tomato prices have crashed to Rs 1-2 per kg while onions have fallen to about Rs 8 per kg in Delhi’s wholesale market because of weak demand and strong supply in the harvest season, which will keep prices low, traders said.

    The consumer affairs department has also directed MMTC to issue three more tenders for import of Onions, out of which two tenders are country specific namely Turkey and European Union and one is a global tender. Each of these tenders are for 5,000 tonnes.

    The government is closely monitoring the prices of onions which is rising everyday due to short supply in the market. There is a huge shortage of the bulb this year due to heavily rains in the onion growing states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

    As per price monitoring cell of consumer affairs ministry, retail potato prices have increased across many cities, though the average price was at the same level of Rs 20 per kg on Wednesday as compared to last year and a month back as well. This could be because in some cities like Jaipur and Varanasi the prices are in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kg.

    The Centre has asked states to set up their own state-level price stabilisation funds (PSFs) to deal with price volatility of important agri-horticultural commodities such as onion, potato and pulses.

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