Agriculture World

Centre Extends Relaxed Fumigation Norms for Onion Imports till 31st December

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In a attempt to improve domestic supply and check prices that went up to Rs 100 per kg, the Agriculture Ministry has extended the relaxed fumigation norms for imported onions up to December 31. To boost availability and check price rise, India is importing key kitchen staple from Egypt, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran.

In its latest order, the ministry has extended these relaxed provisions till December 31 for onion imports with some conditions.

Traders who have imported onions without fumigation or having endorsement of such treatment on phytosanitary certificate (PSC) will be allowed to fumigate in India through an accredited treatment provider, it said. The consignment will be inspected thoroughly by quarantine officials and released only if found free from pests and diseases of concern to India, it said.

Also, such consignments of onions will not be subjected to the four times additional inspection fees on account of non-compliance of conditions under the 2003 PQ Order, it added.

Importers are paying huge charges if found in non-compliance with this provision because, imported onions are allowed in the country only after the commodity is fumigated with methyl bromide and certified by the exporting nation.

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As onion prices fail to decrease, so the government has decided to import about 1 lakh tonnes of onion through public trading company MMTC, which has already drifted tender for about 4,000 tonnes of imports.

The government is facilitating private imports as well. Sources said that private traders have informed the government that they have placed order for import of 2,400 tonnes of onion which would reach India by month end. Another 2,600 tonnes will be contracted for arrival in December.

Due to 30-40% decline in Kharif onion output, for one more month the retail prices of onion in the country remained high,  The crop declined because of heavy rains in growing states.

Despite different measures taken by government, the price of onion have been under pressure, including offloading the buffer stock for retailing at a cheaper rate, ban on exports and imposition of stock holding limits on traders.



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