India bans onion exports until March 2024 to stabilize domestic prices
Initially set to expire on December 31, 2023, the export restriction aims to address the current onion scarcity in the country. Local vendors in the national capital are witnessing onion prices ranging from Rs 70 to Rs 80 per kg.w
In a bid to enhance domestic availability and regulate market prices, the government has extended the ban on onion exports until March 31, 2024. The decision, communicated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), modifies the export policy from free to prohibited and imposes a minimum export price (MEP) of $800 per metric ton.
Initially set to expire on December 31, 2023, the export restriction aims to address the current onion scarcity in the country. Local vendors in the national capital are witnessing onion prices ranging from Rs 70 to Rs 80 per kg.
To alleviate the burden on consumers, the government had previously initiated the sale of buffer onion stock at a subsidized rate of Rs 25 per kg in October. In a continued effort to control prices, various measures, including the imposition of a 40 percent export duty on onions until December 31, had been implemented.
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The DGFT clarified that while the general export of onions is prohibited, exceptions will be made based on specific permissions granted by the government to other countries upon request. Additionally, shipments with loading initiated before the notification and vessels already berthed are allowed to proceed with exports.
The central government has exempted 'Bangalore rose onion' from export duty, a variety that received the Geographical Indication tag in 2015. Exports of this specific onion type are subject to certification from the Horticulture Commissioner, Government of Karnataka.
With rising onion prices, the government has been releasing onions from its buffer stock, maintaining a reserve of 3 lakh tonnes for the 2023-24 season. The buffer stock serves as a strategic measure to address market fluctuations and price stabilization.
Rabi onion, harvested from April to June, constitutes 65 percent of India's onion production, meeting consumer demand until the Kharif crop is harvested in October-November. The export window for consignments will be open until January 5, 2024.
Between April 1 and August 4 of this fiscal year, the country has exported 9.75 lakh tonnes of onions, with Bangladesh, Malaysia, and the UAE being the top three importing countries in terms of value.
Despite a decline in inflation for vegetables and potatoes, onion prices remain high, with an annual rate of price rise recorded at 62.60 percent in October, according to WPI data released on November 14. The government's proactive measures aim to ensure a stable onion market amid reports of a lag in onion coverage during the ongoing Kharif season.
(With input from agencies)
04:52 PM IST