Indian government lifts onion export ban amid Lok Sabha elections

KATHMANDU: In a significant development amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the Indian government announced the lifting of the ban on onion exports, albeit with stringent conditions. The move comes as a relief for farmers, who had faced challenges due to the export restrictions imposed earlier.

However, the government has imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 550 per tonne on onions, aiming to stabilize domestic prices and ensure sufficient availability in the local market. This decision follows the imposition of a 40 per cent duty on onion exports, enacted just last night.

This decision marks a shift in the government’s export policy on onions, which had witnessed several changes over the past months. Previously, a 40 per cent export duty was imposed up to December 31, 2023, before the ban on exports was enforced from March 31 this year, and subsequently extended.

According to data released by the Union Agriculture Ministry, onion production for the year 2023-24 is expected to be around 254.73 lakh tonnes, a decrease from the previous year’s production. This decline is attributed to various factors, including reduced output in key onion-producing states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

Despite the export ban, the government had allowed limited exports to six neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, UAE, Bhutan, Bahrain, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka. However, this move had faced criticism from various quarters, with farmers in Maharashtra protesting against the export restrictions.

The opposition Congress party has also criticized the government’s handling of the onion export issue, accusing it of neglecting the concerns of Maharashtra’s onion farmers. The party emphasized the need for a predictable import-export policy to prevent such last-minute decisions that impact farmers adversely.

As the Indian elections progress, the government’s decision regarding onion exports is expected to have implications on both the agricultural sector and domestic politics, with stakeholders closely monitoring its impact on farmers and consumers alike.

Fiscal Nepal |
Sunday May 5, 2024, 02:51:28 PM |

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