The Central government on Thursday, extended relaxation norms for onion imports till January 31 next year to counter high market.

“In the light of public concern over high prices of onion in the market, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to extend the relaxation from the condition of fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate as per the Plant Quarantine Order, 2003, for imports up to 31st January, 2021. The relaxation will be subject to certain conditions,” a Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare release said.

Consignments of imported onions which arrive in Indian port without fumigation and such endorsement on the PSC, would be fumigated in India by the importer through an accredited treatment provider. The consignment would be inspected thoroughly by quarantine officials and released only if found free from pests and diseases of concern to India. 

Further, if smut or dry rot is intercepted during inspection, the particular container will be rejected and deported. In case of stem and bulbs nematode or onion maggot being detected, these should be eliminated through fumigation and the consignments released without additional inspection fee.

The conditions also stipulate that an undertaking should be obtained from importers that the onions will be used only for consumption and not for propagation. In addition, such consignments of onion for consumption will not be subjected to the four times additional inspection fee for non-compliance of conditions of import under the PQ Order, 2003.

Onion prices have started moderating to some extent in some parts of the country with the arrival of the new crops.

On the rising onion prices, in October, the Food Minister Piyush Goyal  had said that the government has banned the export of onions since September 14. He announced that the government had in turn, begun importing onions. The Centre is now taking steps to monitor potato prices. 

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