Delayed imports leave 7,000 tonnes of onions at JNPT with no takers

With domestic prices of onion falling in the wholesale markets to levels around Rs23 per kg, against the landed cost of Rs45 a kg, about 7,000 tonnes of imported onion is lying idle at the container freight stations (CFSs) at JNPT port, for nearly a month, with no takers.

Reports say the CFSs at JNPT port have now begun to stink, where over 250 refrigerated containers with about 7,000 tonnes of imported onions are lying idle for about a month now. With no market for costly onion, importers are in no hurry to clear these consignments.
While India produces enough onion for domestic consumption and even for exports, last year’s excessive monsoon had created a shortage of the bulb, which caused a price spike. The excess monsoon created havoc in Maharashtra’s Nashik region, where the crop was partially destroyed, leading to a massive spike in prices across the country. 
Nashik has the largest area under onion cultivation in the country, as its unique agro-climatic conditions are most conducive for the crop.
However, state agencies that entered the market to arrest the price spike, failed to address the problem in time. There was a more than a month’s delay in imported onion arriving at Indian ports. The damage to the consumer had already been done, and, with new crop arrivals, prices have started stabilising, leaving imports superfluous.
Even for traders who imported onion at a landed cost of Rs26-28 a kg, anticipating shortage in the market, there is no way of recovering the cost of imports. Reports say onion cargo continues to wait at JNPT port.