Agri Business

To check prices, Centre to import 10 lakh tonnes of potato

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on October 30, 2020

Piyush Goyal   -  PTI

Will let trade bring in 25,000 tonnes onions; NAFED has already tied up 7,000 tonnes

The Centre will import 10 lakh tonnes of potatoes at a reduced Customs duty of 10 per cent to meet demand and stem rising prices, said Piyush Goyal, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

The Centre also plans to import 25,000 tonnes of onions before Diwali in addition to the 7,000 tonnes that NAFED has already procured through private importers, Goyal said on Friday at a press conference.

“Normally, potatoes are imported at 30 per cent import duty. But it is decided to allow the import of 10 lakh tonnes of potatoes at 10 per cent duty till January 31. We are also getting 30,000 tonnes of potato from Bhutan,” said Goyal.

Traders in Asia’s largest vegetable market, Azadpur Mandi, said the prices of potato are higher this year because there was a 30 per cent shortfall in stocks kept in cold storage from last year’s rabi crop. However, they expect the prices to come down from mid-November with fresh crop starts coming from States, beginning with Punjab.

“The onion imports are being done by market forces. The government is not importing it directly. NAFED plans to invite people to import... to ensure adequate supply,” he said. According to Goyal, the prices of onion and potato are hovering around ₹65 and ₹43 a kg, respectively, the last few days. “We are hopeful that the prices of onion will remain in control and consumers will get onions in adequate quantities at right prices,” he added.

Pulses, too

The Centre has extended the deadline for importing arhar dal till December 31. Similarly, licences have been issued for importing 1.5 lakh tonnes of urad dal. Also, the import duty on masoor dal will remain at 10 per cent till December 31, Goyal said.

The government has also decided to extend the bilateral treaty with Mozambique for importing 2 lakh tonnes of tur dal which ends this year for another five years. Similarly, it would sign a contract with Myanmar for importing 2.5 lakh tonnes urad dal annually for the next five years.

Published on October 30, 2020

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