The first batch of imported onion weighing 790 tonnes has reached India and some quantities are being distributed to Delhi and Andhra Pradesh at a landing cost of Rs 57-60/kg, a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official said on Monday.
An approximately 12,000-tonne of onion shipment is expected to arrive by end of December, he stated.
State-run MMTC, which is importing the key kitchen staple on behalf of the government, has contracted 49,500 tonne of onion so far.
Retail onion prices are ruling at an average Rs 100 per kg in major cities, but rates are as high as Rs 160 per kg in some parts of the country.
"The two consignments comprising 290 tonne and 500 tonne each has already reached Mumbai. We are offering this onion at a landed cost of Rs 57-60/kg to state governments," the official told PTI.
Andhra Pradesh and Delhi governments have already placed their demands and have started lifting imported onions, he said.
Onion has been imported from Turkey, Egypt and Afghanistan. More consignments are underway which should improve the domestic supplies, he added.
Onion prices have shot up sharply due to estimated 25 per cent fall in kharif production of 2019-20 crop year (July-June) compared to the previous year because of late monsoon and eventual excess rains in the major producing states.
Onion prices have failed to cool down despite several government measures in the last few weeks. The government has already banned export of onion, imposed stock limits on traders and is also supplying buffer stock at a cheaper rate.
Traders and experts are of the view that onion prices will continue to remain firm till January when late kharif crop will start hitting the market.
The country had last imported 1,987 tonnes of onion way back in 2015-16 when price has shot up significantly.