India’s state trading arm, MMTC has further contracted 4,000 tonnes of Onions from Turkey which is expected to arrive by mid-January, 2020. This 4,000 tonnes is in addition to the 17,090 tonnes of onions already contracted which includes 6090 tonnes arriving from Egypt and 11,000 tonnes from Turkey.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has also directed MMTC to issue three more tenders for import of Onions, out of which two tenders are country specific namely Turkey and European Union and one is a global tender. Each of these tenders are for 5,000 tonnes.
Certain relaxations have been provided in the new tenders issued such as size range of Onions have been expanded to 40mm-80mm diameter, says a government press release. Consortium bidding has been allowed, exporters can offer shipment in multiple lots.
Additionally, fumigation condition relaxations that were earlier provided till 30th November, 2019 have now been extended till 31st December, 2019. This is expected to further increase participation, competition & reduce price.
Inter Ministerial Coordinated efforts have also been initiated to ensure priority landing & timely dispatch to states while reducing cost. A coordination committee has also been formed by the Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure that the entire process of import and distribution is streamlined so as to ensure timely arrivals and movement of onions and sale by States.
The committee is holding meetings on a daily basis with participation from officials of MMTC, NAFED, CONCOR and associated Ministries and Departments. The Ministry of Shipping has also assured that it will provide priority landing/docking for the ships containing the imported Onions and will also be appointing a nodal officer at JNPT, Mumbai for ensuring speedy arrivals and onward distribution/dispatch. The Government has also planned procurement of domestically produced onions.
Onions are procured from major onion producing states to be distributed across all consuming states as per the demand placed by them. On 3rd December, 2019, the Union Government had revised stock holding limit on onions to 25 tonnes on wholesalers and 5 tonnes on retailers. Importers will be exempted from these stock limits for imported stock.