Centre lifts ban on onion export from January 1 as fresh produce to hit market soon

Almost after three months, the Centre on Monday announced lifting of ban on export of all varieties of onions including Bengaluru Rose and Krishnapuram onions, from January 1, 2021.

The lifting of the ban on onion exports comes at a time when the arrival of fresh onion crops from Nashik, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will start soon. Besides, the second onion crop from Bangalore and Hubli will hit the markets in a fortnight.

“Central government removes prohibition for the export of all varieties of onions with effect from January 1, 2021,” said the Directorate General of Foreign Trade in a notification.

Leading onion trader from Nashik Nitin Jain told Free Press Journal, “The government’s decision is quite timely especially when fresh produce will come to the market. The arrival of onions in large quantities may have led to substantial crash in prices. However, with the lifting of export ban, the prices will not fall drastically. Today’s onion prices were reported ranging between Rs 1,600 and 2,000 per quintal.” He said Indian onions will be exported to Gulf countries, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The government had imposed a ban in September this year to avoid supply crunch. The price of the onions had spiked to Rs 5,000 per quintal but has since then dropped to Rs 2,000 per quintal as of earlier this month. After the ban, the Income Tax Department had raided traders to prevent the price of onion from increasing. The government had also decided to import onion to reduce the surging prices in the country.

Onion growers, traders and political parties had subsequently urged the Centre to lift the ban citing that it will take a severe dent on India’s image as a reliable exporter of onion in the international market.

Former Union agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar had urged the Centre to lift the ban which has been a boon for Pakistan and other onion exporting countries as they are being hugely benefited. He had brought to the Centre’s notice that onion is grown on Jirayat or unirrigated land and majority of them are small landholders.

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