India has asked Bangladesh to procure the onions that it has imported after a majority of states withdrew their demand for the commodity.
At a meeting held on Monday, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry made an offer to acting Bangladesh high commissioner Rokebul Haque to buy the onion stock that India had imported for domestic consumption, Indian news website ThePrint reported citing a senior government official familiar with this on Tuesday.
But Bangladesh argued that it already has imports of Chinese onion in the pipeline through Nepal, so India should offer some incentives like free transportation, said the official, who didn't wish to be named.
He said that while India imported most of the stock at around $600-700 per metric tonnes (MT), the Indian government is offering it to Bangladesh at $550-$580 per MT.
As of 12 January, 18,000 MT of imported onions had arrived in India out of a total contract of 36,000 MT, the official said.
“Out of the amount of arrived onions, the state governments have only procured around 3,000 MT while the rest of the stock is waiting at Mumbai JNPT port,” he added.
Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana, Karnataka and Odisha have withdrawn their demand of 10,000 MT, 3,000 MT, 3,480 MT, 250 MT and 100 MT of imported onion, respectively, consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan confirmed earlier this month.
The states had asked for imported onions to deflate the soaring prices — over Rs 100 per kg in November-December — of the commodity, but backed out citing high prices and difference in taste.
This has sparked concern that if states do not lift the imported onions, the commodity will perish. Onion is a highly perishable item which gets depreciated due to rotting and sprouting by 35 per cent in a week.