Onion prices touch Rs 100 in Delhi

Onion prices touch Rs 100 in Delhi

Onion prices touch Rs 100 in Delhi

As onion prices hovered between Rs 80 and 100 in the national capital, the Centre expressed helplessness by blaming hoarders.

The Centre asked states to check prices.

Though the Food Ministry is planning to import onion from China or Egypt, it will take some time because the government first wants to study the market and then take the decision. While wholesale prices are ruling at Rs 50-60 in most of the major markets, in the national capital Mother Dairy outlets are selling it at Rs 68 per kg.

Nafed, a government agency, will study the international prices. If prices at international markets are lower than the domestic prices, the agency will take steps to import it, Union Food Minister K V Thomas told Deccan Herald.

However, it is not clear whether import will help bring down the prices.Though some private traders had imported 1,800 tonne of onions in September from Egypt, China, Iran and Afghanistan to augment domestic availability, it had no impact as the prices have again shot up to Rs 80-90 level in major cities.

Though the minister ruled out any chances of export ban of the bulb, he said the government would restrict the export. Thomas, after speaking to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, there was restricted supply of onion from Maharashtra.
“Traders are taking undue advantage of shortage...but we don't have any plan to abruptly ban exports. The government this time has a stable policy. Instead of putting a blanket ban, we are putting curbs to control export,”he said.

The domestic availability of onion has been affected on account of damage to kharif crop because of unseasonal rain in key producing states, including Maharashtra. Although exports have shown a decline after recent hike in the minimum export price (MEP), prices remain high as supply crunch has intensified, an official said.

Currently, onion supplies are less than 50 per cent of the country's monthly estimated total demand of up to10 lakh tonnes. Stored onions have also got exhausted now, adding to the price volatility. India produced 16.3 million tonnes onion last year. India consumes 88 per cent of the total onion production and exports rest of it, he added. Currently, the MEP stands at $900 per tonne.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said price was high due to artificial scarcity and asked the state governments to take firm action against hoarders. “We have enough onion stock in the country. The state governments must act firmly against hoarding which has led to the artificial scarcity and sharp escalation of prices,” he said.

However Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday refused to take any questions from media.

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