The Centre is deciding to import 10 lakh Tonnes of Potatoes at reduced Customs duty of 10 percent to meet demand and stem rising prices, stated Piyush Goyal, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
They are also planning to import 25,000 tonnes of onions prior to Diwali in addition to the 7,000 tonnes that NAFED already procured through private importers.
“Normally, potatoes import at 30 per cent import duty but it has been decided to allow import of 10 lakh tonnes of potatoes with a 10 per cent duty till January 31 and we are also getting 30,000 tonnes of potato from Bhutan,” said Goyal.
The traders of Asia’s largest vegetable market, Azadpur Mandi, said the prices of potato are higher this year as there is a 30 percent shortfall in stocks kept in cold storage from last year’s rabi crop.
However, they expect prices to come down from mid-November with fresh crop raising has been started from States, beginning with Punjab.
Onion imports are done by market forces, whereas the government does not import them directly.
NAFED plans to invite people to import… to ensure adequate supply,” he said.
According to Goyal, the onion and potato prices are covering around Rs 65 and Rs 43 a kg, respectively, for the last few days. “We are hopeful that prices of onion would remain in control and consumers would get onions in adequate quantities at right prices,” he added.
The Centre extended deadline for importing arhar dal till December 31. Similarly, licenses have been issued for importing 1.5 lakh tonnes of urad dal. The import duty on masoor dal will also remain at 10 percent till December 31, Goyal said.
The government has also extended the bilateral treaty with Mozambique to import 2 lakh tonnes of tur dal, which stops this year for another five years.
Similarly, it would hold a contract with Myanmar for importing 2.5 lakh tonnes of urad dal annually for the next five years.