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Home / India News / Govt to sell onion buffer stock, relax import rules

Govt to sell onion buffer stock, relax import rules

The government has already started moving onion from its buffer stock for sale beginning in the second half of September, a senior official in the consumer affairs ministry said. “Higher quantities of stocks will be offloaded throughout the festive season,” the official said , requesting anonymity.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2020, 07:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Prices are likely to cool after fresh harvests from rain-hit Maharashtra replenish the markets by mid-November.
Prices are likely to cool after fresh harvests from rain-hit Maharashtra replenish the markets by mid-November. (HT phot)

The government will sell more onion from its buffer stock and has allowed quicker imports by relaxing conditions for overseas purchases, the consumer affairs ministry said on Thursday, as retail prices crossed ₹100 per kg in Mumbai and Pune in a festive-season spiral.

The central government has relaxed the Plant Quarantine Order, 2003, allowing traders to import non-fumigated onion and without phytosanitary certification, a formal declaration by an exporting country or an importer guaranteeing that shipments are free of pests and plant diseases.

“To facilitate the import of onion, the government has, on 21.10.2020, relaxed the conditions for fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate under the Plant Quarantine Order, 2003 for import up to December 15, 2020,” an official statement said.

 

The government has already started moving onion from its buffer stock for sale beginning in the second half of September, a senior official in the consumer affairs ministry said. “Higher quantities of stocks will be offloaded throughout the festive season,” the official said , requesting anonymity.

Widespread rains have damaged onion crops and held back harvests, trimming supplies to Lasalgaon, Asia’s largest onion wholesale market in Maharashtra’s Nashik.

“The retail price of onion has shown a marked increased from end of August 2020, though the price level was below that of last year till October 18. A sharp spike in prices of onion in past the 10 days by ₹11.56 per kilo has taken the all-India retail price of onion to ₹51.95 per kilo which was 12.13% higher than the last year’s price of ₹46.33 per kg,” the consumer affairs ministry said in its statement.

Prices are likely to cool after fresh harvests from rain-hit Maharashtra replenish the markets by mid-November. According to consumer affairs ministry’s market intelligence, 3.7 million tonnes will start arriving in markets, which will help cool prices.

“On Wednesday, wholesale rates in Lasalgaon shot up to ₹6,100 a quintal (100kg) for some varieties, from ₹4,700 on Thursday, the last trading day of last week,” said Prakash Kumawat, an official of the Lasalgaon agriculture produce market committee.

In Pune, the price of onion rose to around ₹120/kg on Thursday, reported news agency ANI.

The consumer affairs ministry official said Indian high commissions in onion-supplying countries had been asked to “contact the traders for pushing for greater imports of onions to the country”. Non-fumigated onions would be fumigated after arrival in India by the importing trader through an accredited fumigator agency.

If pests are detected, they would be eliminated through fumigation and the consignments will be released with no additional inspection fee.

“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 Plant Quarantine Order, 2003,” the consumer affairs ministry statement said.

A bout of bad weather and heavy rainfall in the major onion growing districts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have caused damage to standing kharif crop.

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