India approves export of 10,000 tonnes of onion each to Sri Lanka, UAE

  • With this, India has approved as much as 99,160 tonnes of onions for export overriding a ban on shipments imposed last December.

Puja Das
First Published16 Apr 2024
On 8 December 2023, the government had banned the export of onions till 31 March 2024. This has now been extended indefinitely. (File Photo: Mint)
On 8 December 2023, the government had banned the export of onions till 31 March 2024. This has now been extended indefinitely. (File Photo: Mint)

India has allowed export of 10,000 tonnes of onion each to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through the National Cooperatives Exports Cooperative, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification late on Monday.

With this, India has approved as much as 99,160 tonnes of onions for export overriding a ban on shipments imposed in December 2023.

The government recently approved an additional 10,000 tonnes of onion export to the UAE over and above the 14,400 tonnes allowed on 1 March.

Tight global supplies and a dry spell induced by the El Niño weather phenomenon had prompted the government to restrict onion exports during the 2023-24 financial year.

On 8 December 2023, the government had banned the export of onions till 31 March 2024. This has now been extended indefinitely. The DGFT notification said export of onions will, however, be allowed on permission granted by the central government based on requests made by the countries.

To check runaway onion prices, the government imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of $800 per tonne on 28 October till 31 December 2023. In August, the government also imposed a 40% duty on the export of onions until 31 December 2023 to shore up domestic supplies.

India's consumer price, or retail, inflation fell to a 10-month low of 4.85% in March, slipping below the 5%-mark for the first time since November 2023, aided by a slower rise in prices of food items like eggs, milk and milk products, fruits, pulses and spices.

Retail inflation, however, has remained above the central bank’s target of 4% but within its tolerance range of 2-6% for the seventh consecutive month.

Earlier in April, the Reserve Bank India (RBI) left the policy rate/repo rate unchanged at 6.5%, signalling that interest rate cuts may take some more time.

With rising onion prices, the central government has been releasing the staple vegetable from its buffer stock. The central government had earlier decided to maintain 300,000 tonnes of onions in the 2023-24 season as buffer. In 2022-23, the government maintained a 251,000-tonne onion as buffer stock and started rabi onion procurement beginning April for the 2024-25 season as against the normal of June. The government aims to procure 500,000 tonnes of onion in the 2024-25 rabi season.

Also Read: Govt may provide DBT to onion farmers for procurement

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