The Kerala government on Thursday announced its decision to sell onion at Rs 50 per kilogram to "check the spiralling prices of onions" in the state, according to several media reports.
"In order to check the spiralling price of onions, the state government has made a market intervention to provide it for Rs 50 per kg. The price is expected to be reflected in the market in two days," Thilothaman was quoted as saying by the report.
The decision was taken in a review meeting on Thursday, even as the prices of onions and shallots (small onions) rose to Rs 90 and Rs 120 respectively in the last week, The New Indian Express reported.
The state government will procure 100 tonnes of onions from the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) for this purpose.
The News Minute quoted agriculture minister VS Sunil Kumar as saying that the onions procured from NAFED will be sold at "half the present market price".
"Horticorp will soon arrange 50 tonnes of onions from NAFED which has informed the state in response to a letter that onions will be given to the state at a price of Rs 35. Further, Horticorp is making intervention to procure onions from farmers along with other vegetables which will be sold to the consumers through its outlets across the state at reasonable prices," Sunilkumar said.
Meanwhile, an increase in the prices of onions has reportedly been observed in other southern states, and also as a nationwide trend.
In view of this, the Centre on Wednesday relaxed import norms till 15 December to facilitate the early shipment of onion to boost the domestic supply and check the retail prices of the key kitchen staple.
The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry, in a statement, said it will also offload more onion from its buffer stock in the open market to contain price rise.
An estimated Kharif crop of 37 lakh tonnes is likely to start arriving in the mandis that will give reprieve to the rising prices, it added.
According to the ministry, a sharp spike in onion prices in the past 10 days by Rs 11.56/kilogram has taken the all-India retail price of the commodity to Rs 51.95/kilogram, which was 12.13 percent higher than the last year's price of Rs 46.33/kilogram.
The retail price of onion has shown a marked increase from August-end 2020, though the price level was below that of last year till 18 October, it said.
To facilitate import of onion, the ministry said, "The government has on 21 October relaxed the conditions for fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate (PSC) under the Plant Quarantine Order (PQ), 2003 for import up to 15 December, 2020".
The Indian High Commissions have been instructed in the relevant countries to contact the traders to push for greater onion imports to the country.
Such consignments of imported onions, which arrive at Indian ports without fumigation and endorsement to that effect on the PSC, would be fumigated in India by the importer through an accredited treatment provider.
"An undertaking will be obtained from the importers that the onion will be used only for consumption and not for propagation," the ministry said.
With inputs from agencies