The central government's decision to halt onion exports, initiated a month ago, has inflicted a staggering loss estimated at ₹500 crore upon onion producers. The ban, put in place to curb escalating prices which surged to ₹4,200 per quintal, has spurred a growing demand to lift the export restriction.
Before the embargo on onion exports took effect on December 7, 2023, the highest market price for onions stood at ₹4,252. However, post-ban, prices plummeted to ₹1,800 at the Lasalgaon Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), signaling a drastic decline.
Market committees, including Lasalgaon, are urging the government to reconsider the export ban due to substantial financial setbacks suffered by onion-producing farmers. The ban's toll has gone on farmers as they have suffered losses of hundreds of crores. The sudden imposition of the export ban by the Ministry of Commerce has dealt a severe blow to farmers, causing a loss of peak season. Prior to the ban, onion prices soared between ₹4,000 to ₹4,200 per quintal, while post-ban rates plummeted to a range of ₹1,500 to ₹2,000 per quintal.
Demand and dilemma
The Indonesian government's request for 9 lakh metric tons of onions, alongside demands from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, stands in stark contrast to the export restriction. Notably, Praveen Kadam, director, Lasalgaon APMC, has persistently advocated for lifting the ban, citing its detrimental impact on farmers for the past 28 days.
Calls intensify for lifting export ban
As the Lasalgaon Agricultural Produce Market Committee witnesses onion prices hitting ₹4,200 per quintal, the 30-day mark of the Union Government's onion export ban has been crossed. During this period, onion farmers have suffered colossal losses amounting to ₹500 crore.
Market committee directors and farmers are fervently urging the government to rescind the export ban immediately. The sudden imposition of the ordinance last month, on December 7, came amidst soaring market rates, reaching as high as ₹4,252 per quintal.
The Lasalgaon main market premises received 84,536 quintals of red onions this week, with prices ranging from ₹800 to ₹2,340 per quintal. Farmers, awaiting a government subsidy of ₹350 per quintal, remain distressed due to delayed financial relief. Lalit Darekar, former director of the market committee, stresses the urgency of lifting the export ban to alleviate farmers' financial burdens.
With an influx of nearly one and a half lakh quintals received daily across 15 chief and two private market committees in the district, the plight of onion producers persists, demanding prompt government intervention.