Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Onion woes: NAFED holds talks with importers to help clearance of imported stock

NAFED CMD Sanjeev Chopra
AT A time when the prices of onions are touching Rs 80-90 per kg in the retail market, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) met onion importers on Monday in Mumbai. The objective of the meet was to help fast clearance of imported stock of the bulb. Around...
600 tonne of imported onion will arrive in Mumbai within the next week, which is expected to ease pressure on scant supply of the bulb. The meeting was held to understand and resolve issues relating to clearance of imported stock of Onion arriving at JNPT, Mumbai, with regards to phyto-sanitary and food security issues, said a government release.
As five key states go for Assembly polls this year-end, onion has again become a poll issue. As the commodity doesn't come under the Essential Commodities Act, it is not easy on the part of officials to crack down on hoarders and they go unpunished. As a temporary measure to check the rising prices of onion, Central government’s inter-ministerial group (IMG) on September 19 decided to raise the Minimum Export Price (MEP) of onions to $900 per tonne from $600 per tonnes to discourage exports.
However, the government took no decision to ban exports as has been the demand since July when the onion prices first shot up to Rs 80 per kg.
NAFED claims to be interested to import onions of Pakistan/Iran/China/Egypt origin to be delivered at NAFED warehouse at Lawrence Road, New Delhi. A tender to this effect was issued on September 2.
Onion production in 2012-13 fell by 4.89 percent and exports were higher by 17.39 percent over the previous year. Around 7 lakh tonnes were exported between April and August.
Chaired by managing director (NAFED) Sanjeev Chopra, the meeting was attended by leading onion exporters / importers and senior officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), said the release. The meeting covered in details all ground problems being faced by importers and majority of the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of all the stake holders, it added.
It is expected that there would be a higher production of onion in the kharif season across the country which will ease the pressure on onion prices. 

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