Onion export ban to be reviewed

September 19th, 2011 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) An empowered group of ministers (EGOM) on food headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to review Tuesday the ban on onion exports, sources said Monday.

Earlier this month, the ministerial panel banned onion exports to boost domestic supply and control rising retail prices which had touched Rs.25 per kg in Delhi.

The prices had shot to an abnormal high of Rs.80 kg in January this year because of shortage and hoarding by traders. Fearing a repeat of the situation, the government imposed the ban.

“The food ministry has no objection to lifting the ban keeping in mind onion’s price stabilisation,” an official said.

Recently, onion farmers from Maharashtra approached Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, saying the ban had affected prices of the commodity.

A high-level delegation from Maharashtra, led by state Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, too met top union ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, seeking removal of the ban last week.

Pawar had pointed out that arrival of onion in September was lower than the corresponding period in the previous year, but said overall onion production was expected to be good.

“Ban on onion export has led to a sharp fall in wholesale prices and farmers are worried. We have to give a serious thought to this issue,” Pawar said.

According to officials, the wholesale price of onions declined from Rs.1,000 per quintal before the ban to Rs.600 per quintal in major wholesale markets of Nasik.

All the onion markets in Nasik district of Maharashtra, the country’s biggest onion-producing state, have remained closed since Sep 9 to protest against the ban.

India’s onion production is estimated at 151.36 lakh tonnes in 2011-12 — higher than the previous year’s output of 145.62 lakh tonnes.

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