Maharashtra farmers are likely to suffer huge losses of over Rs 50 bln (€60o mln) owing to a government decision to ban the export of onions. Experts claim the move will most likely benefit China and Pakistan in the international market.
At the end of the summer harvest season, growers in Maharashtra had stored up around 2.7 mln tons of onions, of which 60 per cent stock remains. After the ban was announced, truckloads of onions have been stranded at several places like Nashik, Pune, Nagar and Solapur.
According to the experts, the ban has come at a time just when the onion prices had started rising after staying low for several months. The average trade rate, which was Rs 20 per kg in July, in the country’s biggest onion market at Lasalgaon had now touched Rs 35 per kg and was expected to go up further. Maharashtra is the largest onion producing state in the country.
Last week, the central government’s department of commerce decided to ban the export of onions. The move came as a surprise as the government usually takes the step when prices shoot up and supply remains weaker. But this year, the country has seen a bumper onion crop.
NCP President Sharad Pawar has already warned that the decision could allow other countries like Pakistan to displace India in the international market. “The ban jeopardizes India's export share in the onion markets of Gulf countries, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he told asianage.com.