NEW DELHI, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The first consignment of 6,090 tonnes of onions procured by the Indian government from Egypt will reach Mumbai port in the first week of December, officials said on Tuesday.
"Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) has placed an order for the first consignment of 6090 MT of onions from Egypt which will be arriving at Nhava Sheva (JNPT), Mumbai," said a statement from India's federal ministry of food and consumer affairs.
According to the ministry, this consignment was being offered to local governments in the states at 0.73-0.77 U.S. dollars per kilogram in Mumbai and 0.84 U.S. dollars per kilogram in Delhi.
"State governments may take the stock from the location on their own and also have the option of getting transportation facilitated through National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), if required. The supply of imported onions will begin from early December onwards," the statement said.
Last week, the Indian government approved import of 120,000 tonnes of onions through the largest state-run foreign trade enterprise, MMTC.
The move was aimed at improving the availability of onions in the domestic market.
Earlier this month onion prices in various Indian states including the capital of New Delhi skyrocketed and price of 1 kg was at around 1.41 U.S. dollars.
Onions which form the main ingredient of Indian meal are otherwise sold at around 29 U.S. cents a kilogram.
The vegetable dealers attribute the price rise of onions to a shortage in domestic supply.
Officials blame late monsoon and cyclones for impacting sowing and crop arrival from main producing centers of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, thus creating a shortage in the market.
According to officials, NAFED plans to retail onions through its own outlets in Delhi, along with the outlets of other companies as the local government so far has not placed an order.
The total demand received so far from various state governments for the first week is 2,265 tonnes, the statement said. "Other states have been requested to indicate their demand at the earliest so that the same can be facilitated by the union government."