More than 1,000 tonne of onion, imported from countries such as Egypt and China and which was stuck at the Mumbai port, has been released. It is expected to improve supplies in the domestic market.
A meeting convened by NAFED on Monday resolved various phytosanitary issues relating to clearance of imported stock of onion, an agriculture ministry official said.
“Another 300 tonne is expected to be cleared for domestic distribution by the end of this week,” the official said.
State-run PEC had been mandated to identify international suppliers for import of three lakh tonne of onion.
PEC has decided to import onion as global prices are lower at present — in the range of $450 per tonne — as against the domestic price of $ 650 per tonne.
In a bid to curb onion price hike, the government last week increased the minimum export price (MEP) of onion to $900 per tonne to discourage exports and put a curb on rising retail prices of the key vegetable.
Last month, the government had re-imposed MEP on onion at $650 a tonne to put a curb on shipments.
Due to higher MEP, onion exports in August had come down by more than 87% compared to last year.
Meanwhile, a consumer affairs ministry official said the government is keeping a close watch on the price situation.
“We have taken several measures to improve supplies,” the official said.
Onion prices have risen sharply across the country in the last one month.
In the Delhi region, the retail price of onions is currently as high as R70-R80 per kg, compared with R22 per kg a year earlier.
On Monday, with the arrival of new crop in the wholesale market, prices fell by R10 per kg to R60-R70 per kg in retail markets in the Capital.
Prices are expected to cool down further in the coming weeks as new crop from Karnataka has started coming into the market.
According to NHRDF data, arrivals of onion in the Bangalore wholesale market increased by 50% from the last week's level to 76,266 quintals on Monday.