India imported 8,041 tonnes of onion in Sept-Nov: Thomas
New Delhi: India imported more than 8,041 tonnes of onions during the period between September 1 and November 13 to contain the rise in the vegetable's prices, Parliament was informed Monday.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Food Minister K V Thomas said 8,041 tonnes of onion were imported during September 1 and November 13 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 percent in September this year from 5.21 percent in May 2013, but then after it declined to 78.38 percent 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 percent in October last year, which rose to 278.2 percent during the same month this year.
Similarly in the case of tomato, WPI was -39 percent in October last year which jumped to 121.9 percent 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 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 USD 1150 per tonne.