After a year of self sufficiency, India has turned a big importer of onion once again. Around 300 tons (15 container loads) onion is set to hit Mumbai’s retail market on Monday.
According to the Indian news website Business Standard, the imported onion from Egypt and China, the quarantine issue has already been cleared with the commodity is found fit for human consumption. Importers have already obtained necessary permission to release the commodity in the market.
“Around 15 containers (20 tons each) are ready for release. The commodity may hit spot mandis on Monday. With this the price may moderate,” said R P Gupta, Director of National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF).
Traders have received permission to import 24,000 tons of onion this year to meet rising consumers’ demand.
“This is the first imported consignment India has received. Some more are in the pipeline. Accumulatively, we have received government’s permission to import 24,000 tons this year,” Gupta added.
Prior to this, India had imported huge quantity of onion from Pakistan in 2011. In 2012, however, there was no need felt to import onion. But, this year again, India has become a net importer of onion despite adequate supply from domestic sources.
“There is no shortage of onion from domestic sources. Barring a supply disruption from Andhra Pradesh, there is no logic in its price going up. Supply of the new season crop has sufficient from Karnataka. In fact, Bangalore market receives a minimum 40,000 tons of onion daily. The new season crop has started hitting spot mandis in the south recently which is expected to spread across all markets within a few days. Once the demand pressure from the south eases coupled with imported commodity hitting markets in and around Mumbai, onion price will cool down, said Gupta.
National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) had last week floated a tender to import onion from Pakistan, China, Iran and Egypt. Also, PEC Ltd had floated a tender to import 300,000 tons of onion early last week. Private players are also keen to import the commodity to meet domestic demand.
Meanwhile, onion exports from India fell sharply by 81 per cent to 29,247 tons in August as compared to same month a year ago, after the government imposed curbs on the overseas sale. India, the second largest producer of onion in the world after China, is estimated to have harvested 16.6 million tons of the staple vegetable last year.