It has been quite a wait for both consumers and traders, who were hoping for a supply from across the border. Tuesday, too, went by, but there was no sight of trucks laden with onions for Indian markets from Pakistan.
Rajdeep Uppal, vice-president of Amritsar Exports and Imports Chambers, says his counterparts are waiting for Pakistan to lift its onion export ban for their truckloads to crossover into India. But they may have to give up and sell their wares in local markets.
“Onion is perishable. It is a desperate move by the traders. They have no choice.
Hundreds of truckloads of onions have returned to their local markets,” Uppal adds.
Over 600 trucks are lined up in Pakistan, awaiting clearance. The volume is enough to kickstart stabilisation of onion prices. The price of onions in the local markets may not have drastically risen in the last few days but they still continue to hurt consumers.
“Prices of onions have drastically fallen in Pakistan. Had matters been straightened out, this side of the border would have been a great business opportunity for Pakistani traders. This is one workable model to ensure stability of prices,” Uppal says.
An exporter in Amritsar says a delegation of Pakistani exporters held meeting with the officials concerned in Islamabad on Monday to diffuse the logjam, but in vain.
The good news for India, however, is that consignments of onions from two places in Gujrat—Bhavnagar and Mahua—have started to arrive in the Punjab markets, Uppal says.
Even though Pakistan refuses to lift the ban on onion exports, truckloads of vegetables, ginger and soyabean from India continue to cross borders into Pakistan. After Pakistan imposed a ban on onion export via road link last week, Indian traders responded bitterly by stopping routine vegetable and ginger supplies to Pakistan.
But the strike sustained only for a day and trade from India was resumed as a goodwill gesture.