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Onion imports from Afghanistan cool down prices in India

As many as 50 trucks laden with onion crossed over to India across Attari check post and 55 trucks had brought the tuber on Monday this week.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 14, 2019, 08.47 AM IST
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Agencies
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Onion prices had spiralled up to Rs 200 per kg in some states after supply dwindled owing to the damage caused by rains to the unharvested crop.
CHANDIGARH: Onion imports from Afghanistan across the Attari border have helped arrest the upward spiral in prices seen over the past few weeks. Retail prices of the tuber have fallen and stabilised at Rs 100-110 per kilogram in the northern states as fresh harvest from Alwar in Rajasthan and consignments from across the border have boosted supply in the region.

As many as 50 trucks laden with onion crossed over to India across Attari check post and 55 trucks had brought the tuber on Monday this week. “Onion is topping the imports currently and the consignments are coming from Afghanistan,” Sukdev Singh, manager Integrated check Post, Attari told ET.

Driven by the high domestic prices of onion, the vegetable widely used in cooking in India, traders in Afghanistan are importing onion from Iran and Uzbekistan via Attari. “Around 1500-2000 tonnes of onion is being imported along the international border.

The spurt in international supply has cooled down wholesale prices of onion by 20-30%, said traders. “Onion from Afghanistan is being supplied to various states, including in south like Karnataka,” said Gaurav Behal of Amritsar-based vegetable trading company Behal International.

The landed cost of onion from Afghanistan is Rs 40-55 per kg while the local crop is priced at Rs 65- 75 per kg and retail prices are hovering over Rs 100 per kg.

“Prices are expected to mellow down by next week as domestic harvest from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh commences,” said Akshay Kumar of Ludhiana-based Super Onion Company.

Kumar said that although onion imports from Afghanistan have helped stabilise prices, the crop from the neighbouring country has limited appeal for the average consumer because of its bigger size. “Usually retail buyers purchase a few kilos and due to the bigger size (of onions from Afghanistan) just a few pieces weigh over one kg. So it is not conducive for a household,” he said.

Onion prices had spiralled up to Rs 200 per kg in some states after supply dwindled owing to the damage caused by rains to the unharvested crop.

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