Scrap curbs on onion exports, says Pawar

Scrap curbs on onion exports, says Pawar

Scrap curbs on onion exports, says Pawar

A week after the government slashed the Minimum Export Price (MEP) on onions, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has demanded doing away with the export restrictions entirely so that onion farmers can benefit from the sharp decrease in the prices of the kitchen staple.

Pawar is learnt to have written to the Commerce Ministry seeking removal of the minimum export price (MEP) on onions as wholesale prices slipped below Rs 1,000 per quintal in markets across Maharashtra. In September, onion prices had skyrocketed to Rs 6,000 per quintal in the wholesale market at Lasalgaon, the biggest such facility in Asia.

The Commerce Ministry fixes the MEP on any product to discourage exports whenever there is a shortage in the domestic markets.

At the height of the onion shortage crisis, the Commerce Ministry had hiked the MEP to $1,150 per tonne. Last week, the MEP had been slashed to $ 350 per tonne as there was a glut of onions in the domestic markets.

Farmers in onion producing states such as Maharashtra have been protesting the downward spiral in onion prices and have made representations to Pawar, demanding the removal of export restrictions.

Onion exports had come down substantially to 29,000 tonnes in August due to the curbs.
In the April-November period of this year, about 8.53 lakh tonnes of onions were shipped overseas compared with 18.22 lakh tonnes in the same period in 2012-13.

Currently, farmers are harvesting the late summer (kharif) onion crop in major growing states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.