Monday, August 31, 2015

Onion woes: MMTC floats tender for import of kitchen staple

STATE-owned MMTC has invited bids for import of 10,000 tonnes of onion from countries like Pakistan, Egypt, China and Afghanistan to boost domestic supply and check prices. Ii was the second such tender floated by the PSU firm. It has earlier finalised earlier bids for import of 1,000 tonnes at Rs 45 per kg and the shipments will...
arrive by September 10.
The Centre has started importing onions as retail prices have shot up to Rs 80 per kg across the country due to shortage of about five lakh tonnes of the key kitchen staple.
MMTC officials were quoted as saying that bids should be submitted before September 4 and will remain valid till September 10. The shipments should reach by September 15.
Bids should be made for a minimum quantity of 1,000 tonnes. The quantity for import can be increased or decreased depending on the prices received in the tender.
MMTC has been asked to float tender after tender till the onion supply improves and prices are stabilised.
Meanwhile, the government has taken several measures to curb price rise in onions, including hiking the export price sharply to 700 dollar per tonne to restrict overseas sale and asking state governments including Maharashtra to take stringent action against hoarders and black marketeers.
To check rising prices of the kitchen staple, the central agency SFAC, along with cooperative NAFED, has been boosting supply in price-sensitive Delhi markets at subsidised rates. Even the Delhi government has started selling onions at cheaper rate at Rs 30 per kg.
India's daily consumption of onion is 35,000 tonnes. According to data provided by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India is the second largest onion growing country in the world. Indian onions are famous for their pungency and are available round the year. Indian onions has two crop cycles, first harvesting starts in November to January and the second harvesting from January to May.
There is a lot of demand of Indian Onion in the world, the country has exported 12,38,102.60 MT of fresh onion to the world for the worth of Rs. 2,300.57 crores during the year 2014-15.
Modern packhouses for sorting, grading and packing of the quality onions are available at production zones. Guidelines has been framed to determine the compliance with maximum residue levels (MRLs) for the identified pesticides .Grade designation and quality development parameters has been set up. India primarily export onions to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, and Nepal.

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