The Centre on Thursday approved bids placed through a global tender for onions floated by state-run MMTC, paving the way for import of 1,000 tonnes of the commodity from Pakistan and China.
As the bids received were only for a tenth of the overall tender amount, the government has decided to float a fresh tender of 10,000 tonnes. “We will keep on floating tenders to import onions till the time the targeted 10,000 tonnes is reached,” said Additional Agriculture Secretary Avinash K Srivastava.
The commodity, to be sourced at Rs 45 a kg, would start arriving from September 10.
A decision on the matter was taken at a meeting of the Price Stabilisation Fund Monitoring Committee, headed by Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain. Consumer Affairs Secretary C Viswanath, along with senior MMTC and Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) officials, were also present at the meeting.
MMTC, which last week floated a tender for 10,000 tonnes of onion import, received only one bid from a Singapore-based company, for 1,000 tonnes. The approved bidder has been asked to source onions from Egypt, China, Pakistan, as well as various other countries. The imported onions would be supplied to state governments, after ascertaining their requirements.
The government has approved the tender for 1,000 tonnes of onions at a time when wholesale prices at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia’s largest onion market, have declined through the past two days to Rs 48 a kg, owing to improved supplies. This followed several measures by the government, including curbs on export.
It is believed the supply of imported onions would boost supply and help bring down retail prices further. As of now, the prices are ruling at about Rs 80 a kg across the country
Through the past few weeks, onion prices in retail and wholesale markets had shot up due to an estimated fall of 500,000 tonnes in production in the 2014-15 crop year. The likely fall in this year’s production, owing to low rains in key growing areas, also contributed to the price rise.