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India imported 8,041-tonnes onion in 21/2 months

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Food Minister K V Thomas said 8,041 tonnes of onion were imported during 1 September and  13 November from China, Egypt, Pakistan and Thailand.

In another reply, he added that wholesale price index (WPI) data during the last six months show that the rate of increase in prices of vegetables as a whole increased to 89.37 per cent in September this year from 5.21 per cent in May 2013, but then after it declined to 78.38 per cent in October. The increase in vegetable inflation was driven mainly by increase in the prices of onion and tomato, according to the data.

The WPI for onion was -9.1 per cent in October last year, which rose to 278.2 per cent during the same month this year. Similarly in the case of tomato, WPI was -39 per cent in October last year which jumped to 121.9 per cent in the same month this year.

Thomas in another reply said prices rose due to extended rain in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat for onion and Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka for tomato. The increased demand in the festival season also added to the woes.

However, onion prices started to come down from the second week of November, on account of increased arrivals from producing states, the Minister added.

Thomas also stated that price rise of vegetables is normally due to several factors such as demand-supply mismatch, increase in cost of inputs, transportation cost, storage problems and weather conditions.

Informing about the measures taken by the government to contain prices of vegetables, Thomas said states have been addressed at intervals to ensure supply of vegetable, national horticulture mission (NHM) is facilitating creating of infrastructure for post-harvest management and marketing.

Elaborating on the steps taken to check price rise of onion, he said that export of onion is calibrated through reimposing minimum export price (MEP), whic is now $1150 per tonne.
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