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Ban on onion exports is unlikely to be lifted before the Lok Sabha elections

The ban on onion exports is unlikely to be lifted before the Lok Sabha elections

Despite a price drop, the Consumer Affairs Ministry is unlikely to lift the ban on onion exports because the government does not want to make any decisions that will raise the cost of onions before the general elections, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The insider told a news agency, “There are orders from above to not touch onions before the elections.”

This is happening in response to merchants’ requests to allow onion exports now that prices have stabilized. After India banned the export of onions on December 8, wholesale onion prices fell to ₹5–10/kg, which sparked protests from farmers in the onion-growing regions.

According to industry insiders, the export ban has also made the kitchen staple more scarce globally at a time when demand is at its highest because of the impending Ramadan celebration.

At the Lasalgaon market, wholesale onions are currently priced at about ₹19/kg. Also Read | Why have onion prices dropped over the last three weeks?

According to the people mentioned above, the government held high-level discussions and decided against allowing exports because of the expectation of a poor crop, which will likely keep prices stable in the upcoming months.

This year’s rabi harvest is expected to be roughly 24% less than last year’s. One of the sources stated, “Farmers are going to hold their produce this year as they know that the crop is less.”Onion exports to specific nations have been permitted by the government in limited amounts.

On March 1, for instance, it approved the export of 50,000 tonnes of onions via National Co-operative Export Ltd (NCEL) to Bangladesh. Additionally, with a quarterly cap of 3,600 tonnes through NCEL, the Center has permitted the export of 14,400 tonnes of onions to the United Arab Emirates. Another notification approving the export of 550 tonnes of onions to Bhutan, 3,000 tonnes to Bahrain, and 1,200 tonnes to Mauritius was released by the government on March 6.

Large amounts of onions are allegedly being smuggled out of the nation despite the export ban, according to representatives of the onion industry. They implored the authorities to permit restricted exports.

“We fear that the demand from Bangladesh will diminish as their local onion crop is about to start,” stated a prominent Maharashtra-based onion exporter who wished to remain anonymous.

The exportation procedures have not yet been made clear by the central government. Also Read | Govt purchased Kharif onion for buffer stock, domestic prices stable

“A new organization is the NCEL. Due to their high perishability, onions require expertise in handling and choosing the best quality for export, according to a second Maharashtran exporter who also wished to remain anonymous.

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