In a bid to check rising onion prices, the government has hiked the minimum export price (MEP) of the bulbous vegetable to $700 per MT (metric tonne), up from $425 per MT.
This is being done to discourage exports and ensure availability of onions in the domestic market, an official release said, adding the government has been keeping a ‘close watch’ on the price rise.
MEP was last increased from $250 per MT to $425 per MT on June 26.
The government has also floated a tender for 10,000 MT to be opened on August 27 to import onions.
The main reason behind the rise in onion prices has been a decline in total production from 189.23 lakh tonne in 2014-15 as against 194.02 lakh tonne in 2013-14. The shortfall has primarily been attributed to adverse weather conditions, which impacted both the standing and harvested crop at major producing centres.
On Monday, the secretary (consumer affairs) has called for a meeting with small farmers agribusiness consortium (SFAC), NAFED, MMTC, department of commerce, ministry of agriculture, and the Delhi government to review the action taken to keep the onion prices in check.
As a market intervention measure, SFAC and NAFED have procured 5,857 MT of onions, which have been funded out of the price stabilisation fund meant to keep prices of essential commodities under control.
SFAC is supplying onions at Rs 30.50 per kg to SAFAL, which is retailing it at Rs 39 per kg in Delhi. It is also directly selling onions to consumers at Rs 35 per kg through 120 milk booths of DMS.
The Delhi government has also decided to sell onions at subsidised rate of Rs 40 per kg through 280 fair price shops, which was further reduced to Rs 30 per kg from August 12.