New Delhi: In an effort to boost domestic supply and check price rise, Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said private traders have already imported 7,000 tonnes of onion and another 25,000 tonnes are expected to arrive before Diwali.
Cooperative Nafed will also start importing onion, he said.
Besides, 30,000 tonnes potato is being imported from Bhutan in order to improve the local supply and control prices of the key commodity, he added.
“Retail onion prices are stable in last three days at Rs 65 per kg. The government has taken proactive measures to check price rise. Exports were banned timely and took steps for import,” Goyal said at a digital press conference.
The government relaxed fumigation norms for import of onion till December. So far, 7,000 tonnes of onion has been imported by private traders, he said.
“Another 25,000 tonnes of onion is expected to arrive before Diwali,” he said, and added along with imports, the arrival of new kharif crop in mandis from next month will help improving the supply situation and ease pressure on prices.
The minister said that onion is being imported from countries like Egypt, Afghanistan and Turkey by private traders. Even Nafed will import on its own capacity.
The government has relaxed fumigation norms for import of onion and export of onion seeds have been banned, he added.
Among other measures, stock limits have been imposed on traders to curb hoarding and black marketing and Nafed, which is holding buffer stock of onion on behalf of the government, is offloading stock in the open market.
So far, Nafed has offloaded 36,488 tonnes.
In case of potato, Goyal said its prices have been rising and all India average retail price has been stable at around Rs 42 per kg for last three days.
However, the government has taken steps to import potato. About 30,000 tonnes of potato is arriving from Bhutan in next couple of days, the minister said.
“We are going to import about 10 lakh tonnes of potato and bring prices under control,” he added.
Kharif onion is expected to hit mandis from next month. Onion production from kharif and later kharif season is expected to be lower by 6 lakh tonnes to 37 lakh tonnes in the current year.