In the wake of a fall in onion prices in the wholesale markets across the country, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) on Thursday said it had deferred imports from Pakistan.
“Earlier, we decided to send our officers to Pakistan for importing 2,200 tonnes of onion. However, as the prices have started declining, we have deferred the onion import plan for the time being,'' NAFED chairman Bijender Singh told reporters.
NAFED had started imports and written to State governments, stating that it was ready to provide any amount of onions required by them. To provide relief to the common man, it had started selling the kitchen staple at Rs. 40 a kg through 25 stores in Delhi. It was also supplying onions to Mother Dairy, DMS, the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India Limited (NCCF) and Kendriya Bhandars for distribution through their retail outlets.
Officials said that since the availability had increased in the market, the prices are expected to decline further and it would not be feasible for NAFED to look for imports now. To rein in the skyrocketing prices, the government had suspended exports and abolished import duties on onion.
Secretary, Consumers Affairs, Rajiv Aggarwal said the retail prices were likely to come down very shortly following a drastic fall in the commodity's wholesale rates. “Wholesale prices are coming down. We are hopeful that there will be impact on retail prices very shortly.''
The NCCF told the Tamil Nadu government that it was ready to sell medium-grade onion at Rs. 25-30 a kg in the retail market. It was for the State to take the call, he said.
Meanwhile, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the average retail price of onion stood at Rs. 51.4 a kg, a three per cent rise from Wednesday's Rs. 49.97. The highest price was reported from Mumbai at Rs. 72, followed by Tiruchirapalli and Itanagar (Rs. 70).