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Centre Imposes Stock Limit on Onion Traders Till Dec 31, Other Nations Asked to Ramp Up Imports

Image for representation. (Reuters)

Image for representation. (Reuters)

The kharif onions are likely to start arriving soon in mandis and the government hopes that an estimated kharif crop of 37 lakh tonnes is likely to boost supply and soften prices.

Centre has imposed stock limit on onion wholesalers, retailers till December 31, sources told CNBC-TV18. The government is in talks with other nations to ramp up onion imports.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan listed the measures taken by the government to tame prices. Among the measures announced today was the imposition of stock limits both in wholesale and retail markets effective from Friday, October 23. The stock limit for wholesellers is 25 MT while that for retailers is 2 MT which will be in effect till 31st December. This is being seen as a step to boost supplies.

The kharif onions are likely to start arriving soon in mandis and the government hopes that an estimated kharif crop of 37 lakh tonnes is likely to boost supply and soften prices.

On September 14, the government banned the export of onions to ensure availability at reasonable rates before the arrival of the Kharif crop. A decision has also been taken for the state-run MMTC to import red onions in order to meet the gap in demand and supply. Indian High Commissioners in onion growing countries have also been roped in. The government had earlier relaxed fumigation norms and phytosanitary certificate to facilitate onion imports by private players and ensure domestic availability.

In order to cool prices, the government is also liquidating stocks from the onion buffer stock of one lakh metric tonnes by supplying to major market yards across the country, retail outlets like SAFAL and NAFED and open market sales. The government is pinning its hopes on the arrival of 37 LMT of Kharif harvest.

In a bid to cool down retail onion prices that are ruling over Rs 75 per kg in some places, the centre has stepped up efforts and asked states and union territories to take the kitchen staple from the central buffer stock for retail intervention. As per data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, retail onion prices in Mumbai were ruling at Rs 86/kg, Chennai at Rs 83/kg, Kolkata at Rs 70/kg and Delhi at Rs 55/kg on October 22.

Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have shown interest and taking a total of 8,000 tonnes of onion from the buffer, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan said, adding that the ministry is awaiting response from other states. The centre is offering onion from the buffer stock stored at Nashik, Maharashtra, at the procured rate of Rs 26-28 per kg to states who wish to lift the stock on their own. For others who want it to be delivered, the offered price would be Rs 30 per kg, she added.

first published:October 23, 2020, 17:06 IST