Mumbai: Amid crash in onion prices following the Centre’s ‘’abrupt’’ decision to ban exports, the former union minister and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday met the union minister of commerce Piyush Goyal and urged him to reconsider it. ‘’Onions are being exported because there has been higher demand globally. India has been a consistent onion exporter. Such a sudden decision to ban will take a severe dent on India’s image as a reliable exporter of onion in the international market,’’ said Pawar. He further stated that the ban by India has been a boon for Pakistan and other onion export countries as they are being hugely benefited.
Pawar said that there was a strong reaction among the onion growing belt in Maharashtra and people's representatives of various political parties contacted him last night and requested him to make a representation citing their issues following the ban. He added that he has informed the minister about the onion growers’ woes in Maharashtra.
Pawar brought to Goyal’s notice that onion is grown on Jirayat or unirrigated land and majority of them are small landholders. ‘’Therefore, I have requested that the Centre needs to urgently reconsider the ban on onion export,’’ he noted.
Pawar said the minister has informed him the proposal to ban onion export was moved by the department of consumer protection in the wake of a surge in onion prices. ‘’The commerce minister has said that the meeting will soon take place among his ministry and ministries of finance and consumer protection to discuss the issue and if three ministries arrive at a consensus a decision will be taken to reconsider the ban,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister of Food and Civil Supplies Chhagan Bhujbal also voiced concerns over the ban on export. ‘’Already onion growers are reeling through a major crisis as they could not sell their crop because of coronavirus lockdown. After relaxation and unlocking exercise, they were looking for a market when the onion price had surged over Rs 2,000 per quintal. The ban has led to a crash in onion prices which will further increase the financial stress of onion growers,’’ he said.
Bhujbal demanded that the Centre should provide a minimum support price and the onion growers should be compensated if the prices crash.