Imported onions will arrive before January 20: the government tells Rajya Sabha

NEW DELHI: On Friday, concerns about scarcity and high prices of onions increased, even when the government blamed delayed and prolonged rains for crop damage.

Struggling to increase supplies, the government said the state trading company was importing onions to verify spiral prices and that the shipment would arrive on January 20.

ÔÇťOnion prices are going up ... there can't be two opinions. Late rains and prolonged rains damaged the harvest, but the government had regulatory stocks, it was distributed from that. MMTC is importing from several countries and is expected by January 20, State Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, told the Upper House.

Onion prices peaked at Rs 165 per kg on Friday. In most cities, the onion was listed above Rs 100 per kg in retail markets, while in the key producing center the rates were Rs 75 per kg, according to data maintained by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

In response to a complementary question about edible oil, the minister said that national production was not adequate to meet demand in the country and that the gap between demand and production was filled through imports.

Soy production in Maharashtra for 2019-20 is expected to be 42.08 lakh tons compared to 45.48 lakh tons in 2018-19, the minister said.

In case of a decrease in national production, the gap between demand and availability was covered by the importation of edible oils, he added.

Dadarao said that while the government had taken several measures to improve edible oil production, 60% of its requirement was met through imports, while only 40% was met through national production.