Ban on Onion exports to continue till March 31: Government

Maharashtra : Farmers Suffering as Onion Prices Plummet; Calls for E-Auction to Save Them

Maharashtra : Farmers Suffering as Onion Prices Plummet; Calls for E-Auction to Save Them

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The ban on onion exports will continue until March 31, 2024, according to Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh. 

The move is aimed at increasing domestic availability and controlling onion prices. This decision aligns with the government’s earlier stance, as a Directorate General of Foreign Trade notification on December 8, 2023, had initially prohibited onion exports until March 31, 2024.

In an effort to provide relief to consumers, the Centre initiated the sale of buffer onion stock at a subsidized rate of Rs 25 per kg in retail markets in October 2023. 

The ban on onion exports was initially imposed until December 31, 2023, and the recent extension until the end of the fiscal year indicates a continued focus on stabilizing onion prices in the domestic market.

Rumors of a potential lift on the export ban had led to a significant spike in modal wholesale onion prices, rising by 40.62% to Rs 1,800 per quintal on February 19 in Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale onion market. 

With general elections anticipated in the coming months, the ban is likely to persist beyond March 31, given the expected lower rabi (winter) onion production due to reduced cultivation, especially in Maharashtra.

The Agriculture Ministry will assess the rabi onion coverage in key growing states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat to determine the impact on production. 

Additionally, the export of onions to friendly countries remains permissible on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval from the inter-ministerial group.

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