Hoarders, crop damage to blame for high onion prices: Sharma

December 23rd, 2010 - 6:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) The loss of one million tonnes of onion in Maharashtra, against India’s annual production of 18 million tonnes, along with hoarding by some unscrupulous traders caused prices to shoot up, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Thursday.He also sought to assure people that a slew of measures taken by the government — such as an indefinite ban on onion exports, zero duty on imports, and roping in of state-run trading agencies to augment supplies — will see prices coming down soon.

“Not a single onion will be allowed to go out of the country. Hoarders will be forced to bring it back to the market because they will not be allowed to export it,” Sharma told a press conference here.

He said the government had taken a series of measures to ensure sufficient supply of onion in the domestic market.

“Finance ministry has allowed zero-duty imports of onion. Government-run firms are importing onions to ensure availability. We hope that the situation will improve soon,” the minister added.

The remarks came against the backdrop of onion prices in India shooting up to around Rs.85 per kg in some cities a few days ago due to short supplies. The prices now have eased to around Rs.70 at the retail level.

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