India will import more onions if required to contain the sharp rise in retail prices, Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said.
Onion prices across the country are on a steady rise with retail prices in Delhi set to cross Rs 100 per kilogram.
Hoarding of onions
Passing on the major responsibility of the price escalation on States, the Minister said that hoarding of onions was the main reason behind artificial scarcity and a sharp rise in prices and States need to act firmly against hoarders.
The Minister was speaking to reporters at a meet organised by industry body CII.
Sharma said that despite domestic availability, if required India would import more onions.
“If there is a need and we receive such a proposal, we will import onions to tide over the crisis and stabilise the situation,” the Minister added.
Onion prices had started rising in July this year crossing Rs 30 per kg in some markets as supplies got affected due to the effect of drought in some onion-growing states last year.
In August, the prices rose further as supplies fell to a third at 17,000 tonnes compared with about 45,000 tonnes supplied in August 2012.
Hike in onion MEP
The Government had decided to impose a Minimum Export Price of $650 per tonne which it subsequently increased to $900 per tonne.
Last month, the Government had imported onions from Pakistan, Egypt and China through public sector procurement agency Nafed, which helped to cool the prices a bit. However, due to recent heavy rains in some parts of the country and increased consumption due to festivities, supplies are constrained again putting strain on prices.