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Onion prices: Traders make a killing even as onion imports from Egypt arrive

November 28, 2019


At a time when consumers across the country are waiting for imported onions to ease sky-high domestic prices, some private importers have already brought in about 2,500 tonnes of Egyptian onions at the JNPT port, Mumbai, and are making a huge profit in the domestic markets. Their cost works out to Rs 26 to 28 per kg, while in the retail markets it has reached Rs 130 per kg. 


Sources from multiple government agencies and shipping companies have confirmed to BusinessLine that onion from Egypt were imported between November 1 and 15, and have already made their way into the domestic market. The traders landed costs is in the range of $375 (Rs 26,717) to $400 (Rs 28,498) per tonne, which works out Rs 26.71 to Rs 28.49 per kilogram.


On Wednesday, the wholesale prices reached Rs 65 per kg at the Lasalgaon APMC mandi, the largest for onions in the country. 


A senior Central Government official told BusinessLine that the traders, who had anticipated a market crisis, had placed their orders much earlier. Some of the traders, are working in cahoots with a few politicians in Western Maharashtra, for making a killing in the market.


The Commerce Ministry's decision to allow exports of the Bangalore rose variety of onion until November 30, has also led to an increase in smuggling of onions to Bangladesh. In the grab of Bangalore rose variety, regular onions have also been exported, leading to a local shortage, the official said.



On October 28, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) allowed 9,000 tonnes of Bangalore rose variety exports till November 30, giving partial relief to the farmers of this specific commodity in Karnataka. On September 29, the Centre had banned varieties to arrest the spike in prices.


On November 9, the Centre had decided to import 1 lakh tonnes of onions to control surging prices. State PSU MMTC has been asked to float tenders for the imported onions, Nafed has been tasked with the distribution. But the precious bulb is yet to arrive in the market.



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