Govt allows onion exports from March 15, removes MEP as prices fall

Farmers in several parts of Nashik district in Maharashtra agitated over falling onion prices, with an official informing that average per quintal price for Monday was Rs 1,450 at Lasalgaon (Photos by : Kamlesh Pednekar)

Export of all varieties of onion will be free from March 15, the government announced on Monday, lifting around six-month-old curbs on shipments of the bulb following a correction in prices and improvement in local supplies.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) also announced removing the minimum export price (MEP) for outward shipments of the commodity.

"The export of all varieties of onions has been made free without any condition of letter of credit and MEP, with effect from March 15, 2020," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

Farmers in several parts of Nashik district in Maharashtra agitated over falling onion prices, with an official informing that average per quintal price for Monday was Rs 1,450 at Lasalgaon, the country's largest market for the kitchen staple.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the decision will help boost the income of farmers.

The government last week decided to lift ban on export of onions in view of projected sharp fall in prices due to bumper rabi crop.

In September 2019, the government banned onion exports and also imposed an MEP of $850 per tonne. The move came after prices started skyrocketing due to supply-demand mismatch.

In December last year, the prices hit Rs 160 per kg in certain parts of the country. The prices are hovering at around Rs 30 per kg at present.

Expected monthly harvest in March is over 40 lakh MT compared to 28.4 lakh MT last year, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had tweeted on Wednesday.

There was shortage of onion as kharif crop was adversely affected due to excess rains and floods in key producing states, including Maharashtra.

Currently, the arrival of rabi (winter) crop of onion has begun in small quantities and would increase from mid-March onwards.

Exports of onion are expected to arrest sharp the fall in domestic prices.



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