India to import onions to address demand shortfall
NEW DELHI, Oct 8: The government will import onions to meet the shortfall in domestic supply, after curbs on exports and countrywide stock limits failed to bring down prices of onions.
India's State-owned trading company MMTC Ltd has issued a tender seeking bids to import 2000 tonnes of onions by October end with a price cap of $352 per tonne.
Onion prices had touched ?80 per kg in some parts of the country due to supply disruption after floods in states, including Maharashtra. The government had initially imposed a minimum export price of $850 per tonne on onions on 13 September, but consumer affairs secretary A.K. Srivastava complained to the commerce ministry that export were continuing unabated following which the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) banned onion export.
Alongside, the consumer affairs ministry also imposed stock limits on onion traders to facilitate release of stocks in the market and prevent hoarding. For retail traders, the stock limit was 100 quintals and for wholesale traders 500 quintals.
India's onion exports fell 10.7% to $154.5 million during the April-July period from a year ago. Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates were the top importers of onion from India during this period. In 2018-19, the government imported onions worth $1.1 million, mostly from Afghanistan.
India's ban on export of onions also became an irritant in bilateral trade relationship with Dhaka, with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina raising the matter during a meeting in Delhi last week.
"We are facing some problems because of the ban on onion export from India. I don't know why you banned these export. It would have been better if you had alerted us in advance-we could have sourced onions from other countries. You banned it suddenly and it became a problem for us)," she told the India-Bangladesh Business Forum on Friday. -The Live Mint