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POLICY & REGULATIONS

Govt bans onion export to tame prices; Pak onions to wipe off Indian tears!
Wednesday, 22 December, 2010, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Centre on Monday decided to suspend onion exports till January 15 to improve domestic supplies as prices went through the roof touching Rs 60-65 a kg in most parts of the country. Supplies of onion in all parts of the country have been badly hit due to unseasonal rains in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan, the major growers of onions. According to the department of consumer affairs, the retail prices onion in Delhi and Chennai rose to an all-time high of Rs 65 and Rs 70, respectively. In Mumbai also onions are sold at Rs 65-70 per kilo.

After an emergency meeting of the food ministry, agriculture cooperative major Nafed, which regulates onion exports, has been asked to stop giving fresh clearance to exporters. Besides, the government has also made exports almost impossible by doubling the minimum export price to $1,200 per tonne from $525 recommended for December.

According to a trader from Lasalgaon, the hub of the country’s onion trade located near Nashik, the average wholesale price of onion rose to Rs 4,500 per quintal on Monday from Rs 1,800 two weeks ago.

The prices are unlikely to come down in the next one month. There might be some relief after the kharif onion crop from Rajasthan starts arriving in the market. Meanwhile traders are buying onions from Pakistan to take advantage of the soaring prices in the country. Twelve trucks loaded with onions arrived on the Attari-Wagah border on Monday. This was the first import of the commodity via the land route in 12 years. Some traders put the cost of landed onions at Rs 18-20 per kg. India had exported thousands of tonnes of onion to Pakistan earlier this year. But foreseeing a poor crop in the country and the current high prices, the traders are importing onions from Pakistan.
 
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