The government is making all efforts to increase the domestic supply of onions and bring down the prices. Last week, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan directed the public sector marketing company MMTC to import one lakh tonnes of onions. With this, India has now changed from onion exporter to importer.
Why onion prices increased?
Since May this year, onion prices have increased significantly. Onion production was very low last year. Therefore, there is an increase in it. Onion crop has been affected due to unseasonal rains. In addition, traders have attributed the adverse policies of the government to this.
Earlier, Chairman of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) of Lasalgaon, Jayadatta Holkar had said that unseasonal rains occurred in October and November, causing damage to the crops sown in Kharif. The early varieties of onion sown in southern Indian states including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have suffered inward losses. This is the reason, because of which there is no new onion supply in the market.
Maharashtra has the highest cultivation of onions. Maharashtra accounts for 35% of the total onion production in India. Unseasonal rains in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat since September have damaged the crop.
Government has taken these steps
The government has already imposed a ban on the import of raw and processed onions to curb onion prices.
The government has imposed stock limits on traders, so that hoarding can be stopped.
Apart from this, to give relief to the people, the government is selling onions at the rate of Rs 23.40 per kg.
The government has extracted 57,000 tonnes of onions from its buffer stock.
In June, the government’s subsidy of 10 per cent to exporters was abolished.
This change was made recently
In the first week of September, the government opened the doors to import 2,000 tonnes for MMTC floating tenders. It is estimated that around 2,000 to 4,000 tonnes of onions are in Mumbai ports. It is expected to reach the markets in the next few days. Paswan’s latest announcement signals a change in India’s position from onion importer to exporter.
Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates and Egypt are the main markets from which India imports onions, although domestic traders say such onions are not welcome in the markets. Traders also point out that imported onions will have a negative impact on the prices of the new crop.
Onion grows in three cycles
The summer or kharif crop (sown in April-June) arrives in the markets from mid-October.
Late kharif crop (sown in September) comes to market from January to March.
The winter or rabi crop (grown between October and November) reaches the markets during March and April.