India exports over 45,000 tonnes onion after lifting ban

New Delhi: India has exported more than 45,000 tonnes of onion since the ban on outbound shipments was lifted early this month, a top government official said on Wednesday. These exports provided relief to farmers after curbs were imposed to keep domestic supplies steady ahead of general elections.

The world’s biggest vegetable exporter banned exports of the bulb last December and then extended it in March, after a rise in prices triggered by sluggish production.

“Since the ban was lifted, more than 45,000 tonnes of onions have been exported, mostly to the Middle East and Bangladesh,” Nidhi Khare, Secretary of the Consumer Affairs Ministry, told PTI.

To keep onion prices affordable during the election period, the government on May 4 lifted the ban but imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 550 per tonne.

Khare said the forecast of a good monsoon this year will ensure better sowing of kharif (summer) crops, including onion from June onwards.

State-owned agencies have started procuring onions from the recent rabi (winter) harvest to build a targeted 5,00,000-tonne buffer stock for the current year, she added. The country’s onion production is expected to fall 16 per cent from a year earlier to 25.47 million tonnes in the 2023-24 crop year due to lower output in key growing regions like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, according to the Agriculture Ministry‘s first estimates.

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