MMTC signs second onion import order, to buy 11,000 tonnes from Turkey

After placing orders from Egypt, state-owned trading firm MMTC, which is importing onion on the behalf of the Centre, has placed an order of 11,000 tonnes of edible bulb from Turkey as part of its efforts to boost domestic supply and ease soaring prices. This is the second import order placed by the MMTC. The public sector firm is already importing 6,090 tonnes from Egypt.

Last month, the Union Cabinet approved importing 1.2 lakh tonnes of onion to improve the domestic supply and control prices that have skyrocketed to Rs 75-120 per kg across major cities now. The Centre has already banned exports and imposed stockholding limit on wholesalers and retailers for indefinite period.

According to sources, MMTC has contracted 11,000 tonnes of onion imports from Turkey and the consignments are expected in January next year. The company had placed an order for the first consignment of 6,090 tonnes of onion from Egypt which will be arriving at Nhava Sheva (JNPT), Mumbai in the second week of this month. The imported onion is being offered to state governments for distribution at the rate of Rs 52-55 per kg ex-Mumbai and Rs 60 per kg ex-Delhi.

To monitor onion prices, a Group of Ministers, chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah, has already been constituted. Finance minister, consumer affairs minister, agriculture minister and road transport minister are also members of this panel. A Committee of Secretaries (CoS) and Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K Srivastava is also constantly reviewing the situation.

Onion prices remain high across the major cities of the country as the average selling price ruled at Rs 75 per kg on Saturday (November 30) while the maximum rate of Rs 120 per kg was recorded in Mayabunder, according to the data compiled by the Consumer Affairs ministry. During 2019-20, there was a 3-4 weeks delay in sowing as well as decline in sown area of the kharif onion because of late arrival of monsoon. Further, untimely prolonged rains in the major growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh during the harvesting period caused damage to the standing crops in these regions.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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