Centre bars onion exports to check price rise

Hyderabad: The Centre has imposed a blanket ban on onion exports and restrictions on stock holdings at wholesale merchants. The onion prices are moving in the range of Rs 60-80 a kilogram across the nation. With the measures taken by both the Telugu states, onion prices eased to Rs 45-60 a kilogram but are again shooting up.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government has banned onion exports and restricted the stock limits at wholesale merchants across India. As per the latest decision, the stock limit of 500 quintals at wholesale merchants and 100 quintals at retailers should be maintained.
Despite the Centre’s measures to keep onion prices under check, exports have been rising since July onwards. Subsequently, the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has fixed a minimum export price of $850 (Rs 59,900) per tonne. Though the decision could control exports volume to some extent, the Indian onion exporters continued shipments to Bangladesh and Srilanka. Responding to the exports to Bangladesh and Srilanka, the Centre has banned onion exports from the country to any nation.

“If new stock arrivals from November hit the local markets, the onion price may further drop. However, the ongoing rains are damaging the crop. The heavy rains worst hit the onion growing states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP, Gujarat and Bihar. The crop damage would also shrink new arrivals. Forthcoming festival demand will further increase the demand,” said a government official at the Malakpet Gunj in Hyderabad.

Bangladesh, UAE, Srilanka and Malaysia are the top countries that import onions from India.

Onion exports already fell over 10 per cent to $155 million during April-July. Meanwhile, the Centre has released 50,000 tonnes of onion into the open market. Ramvilas Paswan, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, asked the states to purchase onions from the Centre and make them available to the consumers.

The Centre is selling onions at Rs16 a kilogram to states, which in turn offers Rs 24 per kilo to consumers.

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