Madhya Pradesh government criticizes Centre for importing onions from Turkey

After enduring the rise in onion prices for months, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh accused the Centre of harming farmers’ interest by importing onions from Turkey at a time when local bulbs are arriving in the market, PTI reports. While onion prices hovered at Rs 100 per kg for the last two months, the staple is now being sold at Rs 50 to Rs 70 per kg at retail markets in Bhopal and other cities of the state as on Wednesday.

“The Centre has imported onion from Turkey at a time when the domestic bulb crop has started arriving in the local markets. They are harming the interests of our farmers,” state minister for food and civil supplies Pradyumn Singh Tomar said. The Centre is now pressurising people to buy onions imported from Turkey, he added.

The government has so far imported 12,000 tonnes of onion and it is being offered to states at Rs 49-58 per kg for retail distribution and to check prices, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday. To boost domestic supply and contain price rise, the government is importing onion through state-owned MMTC and also facilitating private imports.

Of this import, 1,000 tonnes have already been distributed to Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala, he said. By the end of this month, additional 36,000 tonne of imported onion is expected to arrive in India which will further help ease pressure on prices.

Retail onion prices, which were ruling over Rs 100 per kg in most cities since last two months, have started softening now on arrival of imported onions and new kharif crop. But this softening of onion prices means local farmers bringing in fresh harvest will miss out on earning better returns on their produce. The onion saga is all set to continue further.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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