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After four months, onion export to 6 countries allowed

Onion exports were banned on December 8 last year until March 31, 2024, to control domestic prices. This ban was later extended due to concerns about price inflation.

onionNEW DELHI : After four months of removing the ban on onion exports, the Government of India has finally allowed the export of onions to six neighbouring countries. This decision comes one day after permitting Gujarat to export white onions to West Asian countries.

The government has approved the export of 99,150 metric tons of onions to six neighbouring countries: Bangladesh, UAE, Bhutan, Bahrain, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka. The National Cooperative Exports Limited, the designated agency for onion exports, has procured domestic onions through an e-platform at 1 prices.

NCEL will supply onions to agencies nominated by the destination countries at negotiated rates, based on a 100% advance payment basis. The export quotas allocated to these six countries are being fulfilled according to the requisitions made by each destination. As the largest onion producer in the country, Maharashtra serves as the primary supplier of onions sourced by NCEL for export.

Experts suggest that the decision to allow exports comes after criticism from Maharashtra’s onion farmers and traders. This backlash ensued when, on April 26, the Centre permitted the export of Gujarat’s white onions to the Middle East instead of other onion varieties.

Onion exports were banned on December 8 last year until March 31, 2024, to control domestic prices. This ban was later extended due to concerns about price inflation.

Reduced onion production during the Rabi and Kharif periods in 2023 prompted the government to implement measures to stabilise prices and ensure sufficient domestic supply. In August, a 40% export duty was imposed, followed by the establishment of a minimum export price of $800 per tonne in October, before the eventual export ban in December.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has set a procurement target of 500,000 tonnes of onions from the Rabi-2024 harvest for the Price Stabilization Fund this year. In April 2024, a high-level team from the DoCA and its procurement agencies visited Nashik and Ahmednagar Districts of Maharashtra to raise awareness among farmers about the procurement of 500,000 tonnes of onions for the PSF buffer.

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