New Delhi: Private traders have imported 80 containers of onion from Egypt and the Netherlands, and the stock is expected to boost availability and check prices of the key kitchen staple, the government said on Friday.
To further boost the availability of onion in the national capital, state-owned Mother Dairy has been asked to buy the commodity from the open market, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said after an inter-ministerial panel reviewed prices and availability of onion and tomato in the country.
While the retail prices of onion and tomato continued to rule high in the range of Rs 60-70 per kg in the national capital, the ministry said their rates are expected to moderate as the arrival of the fresh crop has commenced.
“There are reports that 80 containers of onions have been imported from Egypt and the Netherlands, the supplies from which are likely to reach the markets,” the ministry said in a statement.
A senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official explained the imports have been done by private traders and the shipments have reached the Mumbai port. The private trade will supply the imported onions wherever the demand is there in the country, the official said.
It may be noted that state-run MMTC has not yet received interest from bidders for the import of 2,000 tonnes. To provide further relief to consumers, the ministry said that Mother Dairy will augment supplies of onions in Delhi-NCR by sourcing the quality commodity from the open market. The APMC Delhi will facilitate Mother Dairy in its operations.
Mother Dairy is already selling onions from the Centre’s buffer stock at a subsidised rate of Rs 24.90 per kg through its 400-odd Safal outlets in Delhi-NCR. It is also selling tomatoes at Rs 55 per kg.
The ministry said that the price rise in onion has been due to supply disruptions because of Diwali holidays and rains in some of the growing areas affecting harvesting. “However, the increase in arrivals would have a direct impact on arresting the prices in both wholesale and retail markets,” it added.
In case of tomatoes, harvesting is underway in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The arrival of the crop has started improving. “It has been somewhat affected due to heavy rains in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Arrivals are expected to improve during mid-November with harvesting taking place in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh,” the ministry added.
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