New Delhi:The government may resort to distress sale of about 34,000 tonne of onions it has imported from countries such as Turkey and Egypt because they are not pungent enough for the Indian tongue, and, consequently, not wanted by the states, according to two people aware of the matter.
With no takers for the onions, the government is considering selling a huge pile of imported onions at Rs 25 per kg, which is less than half the cost, including transportation, the two added on condition of anonymity.
The government’s original plan was to sell imported onions at an average of Rs 55 per kg on a no-profit-no-loss basis.
Onion is a perishable commodity, and particularly the imported onions are susceptible to moisture if kept outside a controlled environment. The government is, therefore, exploring several options, including selling at a discount in the domestic market and exporting to neighbours such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives, one of the two persons said.
Some states want huge discounts given the flavour (or lack of) of the onions; they are also larger than Indian onions, which buyers find disconcerting; and on the export front, Bangladesh wants discounts for purchasing these onions, the second person said.
Most of the imports are from Turkey. Turkish onions are larger in size, nearly four times the size of onions from Nashik, but significantly less pungent, he added.
“The stock of imported onions is piling up. We already have a stock of 22,000 tonne as on January 16. Another 8,000-9,000 tonne are expected to be added by January 25, which will be followed by 5,000-6,000 tonne by the end of this month,” the first person said.