Onions retailing Rs. 100/kg in Mumbai, Pune; import norms relaxed
As heavy rainfall has led to a shortage of onion, prices of the staple vegetable have soared to Rs. 100 per kilogram in some markets in Mumbai and Pune. Its wholesale and retail prices have risen across India, including the nation's largest wholesale onion market, the Lasalgaon agriculture produce market committee (APMC) in Nashik. Here are more details.
In 10 days, prices rose by Rs. 11/kg
Recently, heavy rainfall in major onion growing districts across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh has caused damage to the crop. Consequently, the price of onions has seen a sharp increase. In the past 10 days, onion prices have risen by Rs. 11.56 per kg, taking the all-India retail price to Rs. 51.95 per kg—12% higher than the previous year's price of Rs. 46.33 per kg.
Government eases import norms
In a bid to boost the onion supply, the government on Wednesday relaxed import norms till December 15. The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said, "The government has, on October 21, relaxed the conditions for fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate (PSC) under the Plant Quarantine Order, 2003 for import up to December 15, 2020."
Indian High Commissions approached to ensure greater imports
Indian High Commissions in relevant countries have been instructed to contact traders and push for greater imports. Onion consignments that arrive Indian ports without fumigation and endorsement would be fumigated in India by the importer through an accredited treatment provider. Ditylenchus Dipsaci or Hylimia Antiqua, if any, are to be eliminated through fumigation, and the consignments are to be released without additional inspection fees.
Imported onions to be used for consumption, not propagation
The Ministry said in its statement, "An undertaking will be obtained from the importers that the onion will be used only for consumption and not for propagation." It added, "Such consignments of onions for consumption will not be subjected to four times additional inspection fee on account of non-compliance of conditions of import under the PQ order, 2003."
Onions being released from buffer stock
The government has also collected a buffer stock from the Rabi onion. The Ministry said onion from the buffer stock is being released in a calibrated manner from the second half of September to major mandis, retail suppliers, and state governments. The Ministry also said that on September 14, it had announced a ban on onion export to ensure reasonable rates for domestic consumers.