Onions to be Imported in Large Quantities to Stabilize Prices

PTI  |  Updated: July 14, 2017 13:48 IST

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Onions to be Imported in Large Quantities to Stabilize Prices
With onion prices touching Rs 80 per kilogram, the Delhi government has decided to ask big traders to import onions in large quantities so that the prices would stabilize in the capital.

Development Minister Gopal Rai and Food and Supplies Minister Asim Ahmed Khan held a review meeting with the traders of Azadpur vegetable market to discuss the situation. Slamming the Centre, Rai said that they are busy in playing "a blamegame of letter" and are putting a blame on the Delhi government for price rise of onion. "There are several big traders of onions who import the kitchen staple from other countries. Government has decided to approach them and request them to buy onions in large quantity so that their price could be brought down in the market," says Rai.

The Development Minister said that in the review meeting, "traders told us that the price of onion has gone down by Rs 3 to Rs 5 in markets in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and we will get to see the impact in next three-four days in the city's markets.

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"There is no shortage of stock of onion in Azadpur market. We hope that the price of onions will go down drastically in wholesale markets in Delhi," he said. Rai alleged "they (Centre) want to blame Delhi government for rising of price of onion but they have been exposed now."
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"The Centre is not able to supply onions but Delhi government has already kept a stock of onion," he added. According to the minister, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) has called a meeting with members of Potato and Onion Merchants Association (POMA) tomorrow over the
issue.

"Government has sought the help of Azadpur vegetable traders to sell onion through mobile vans in the national capital at "no-profit-and-no-loss" price, he added. Meanwhile, Asim Ahmed Khan flagged off around 13 mobile vans which will sell onions at Rs 30 per kg in different parts of the capital.

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Meanwhile, import of onions from Afghanistan has picked up momentum and is likely to increase further. "Against 2 to 4 trucks a day initially, now minimum 6 to 7 trucks carrying onion are crossing over to India via Attari-Wagah land route (in Punjab) from Afghanistan," according to Amritsar-based trader Anil Mehra.

Traders said that the supply of onions from Afghanistan may increase further. With onion prices going through the roof in India, traders from Punjab have started importing the crop from
Afghanistan through the Attari-Wagah land route. Traders from Punjab and Delhi are finding it feasible to import the crop from Afghanistan for sale in the country in the wake of its higher prices in the domestic market.

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The Punjab traders, at the same time, lament that onions from Afghanistan are not of great quality.
"Onions from Afghanistan are not of superior quality. Moreover, the wastage is much more in the imported item while being brought in trucks," Mehra said.

As quality of onions from Afghanistan is not up to the mark, the wholesale prices of imported crop remained Rs 20-45 per kg in the market, he said. "Onions from Afghanistan are mainly being bought by local hotels and restaurants as people are not preferring it for their own consumption because of quality issues," he added.

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