Relaxed norms for onion import extended till Jan 31 to check prices

New Delhi, Dec 17 (FN Bureau) The government on Thursday extended relaxed norms for importing onion till January 31 next year, to boost domestic supply and thereby moderate prices of the commodity. The agriculture and farmers welfare ministry said it has extended the relaxation for imports in view of public concern over high prices of onion in the market.

The government had on October 21 had relaxed the conditions for fumigation and additional declaration on the Phytosanitary Certificate (PSC) under the Plant Quarantine Order (PQ), 2003 for import up to December 15, 2020. In a statement, the ministry said the relaxation will be subject to certain conditions, such as the consignments of imported onions that arrive in ports without fumigation and such endorsement on the PSC, would be fumigated in the country 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 the inspection, the particular container will be rejected and deported.

In case of pests like stem and bulbs nematode or onion maggot being detected, these should be eliminated through fumigation and the consignment released without additional inspection fee, it added. The ministry said that 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. Also, 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, it noted.