Mumbai: With onions retailing between Rs 80 and Rs100 a kilo in Mumbai and Pune, and supply constraints, the Centre has relaxed import norms. Last month, the Government had banned onion exports and hopes that the imports from Iran, China and Pakistan will ease the pressure on prices and supply. The Government order said, “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 upto December 15, 2020."
The Government move comes at a time when wholesale onion prices range between Rs 50 and Rs 70 per kg and retail prices, depending on the location, are Rs 80 to 100 per kg. In Lasalgaon, the bulb was auctioned at Rs 7,000 per quintal, as against Rs 7,700 per quintal on Wednesday.
Further, the Government said, consignments of imported onions arriving at Indian ports without fumigation and endorsement would be fumigated in India by the importer, through an accredited treatment provider. An undertaking will be obtained from importers that the onion would only be used for consumption, not for propagation, the order states. Such consignments of onions for consumption will be exempt from the quadruple additional inspection fee on account of non-compliance of conditions of import under the Plant Quarantine order, 2003.
Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (Vashi), director Ashok Walunj said two days ago, 40 containers comprising 2,000 tonnes of onion came to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Terminal of which only 50 tonnes were distributed in Mumbai while the rest has been sent to other states. “The government’s move to relax import norms will not ease supply constraints. Already the onion crop has been damaged due to heavy rains in July and again in September-October. The onion growers have been hit hard and they are selling their stock from storage, at the available price to traders or in auctions. They are worried about damage to the produce if it remains unsold in storage. The supply constraints will continue till December, until the kharif crop arrives,’’ he noted.
Leading onion grower Jayadatta Holkar said even though onions from Iran, Pakistan and China have landed, the customers may choose not to buy these, citing taste preferences.