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India's onion export ban to persist until March 2024

In a recent update from India, the government has announced the continuation of the onion export ban until the end of the current fiscal year, while also noting that shipments of essential vegetables, including onions, may be permitted upon requests from nations through diplomatic channels. This decision comes amidst a surge in onion prices domestically, following the approval of approximately 0.3 million tons of onion exports to countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. "Ban on onion export will continue till March 2024. However, the government allows shipment of food items, including onion to countries for which requests come through diplomatic channels," stated a senior official.

Following the export ban's imposition in December, there was a notable increase in onion prices across major markets. For instance, the average mandi price in Lasalgaon, Nashik, Maharashtra, saw a 25% hike. Similarly, wholesale prices in Delhi's Azadpur mandi, Asia's largest market for fruits and vegetables, experienced a rise. Despite these price hikes, officials and market committee directors anticipate a potential decrease in prices soon, attributing it to the small quantity of approved exports and the upcoming rabi harvest, which historically contributes to about 60% of the total output and sustains supplies until October.

Interestingly, the period saw a significant rise in retail inflation for onions and a substantial increase in export volumes in the previous fiscal, highlighting the volatility and strategic importance of onion trade and pricing in India. The government's intervention through export bans, minimum export prices, and export duties reflects ongoing efforts to stabilize domestic supply and prices.

Onion retail prices quite high
Rates of onions are on the rise, posing challenges for both home kitchen and restaurants alike. The rise in onion prices followed the governmental decision to withdraw the ban on onion exports. At Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) -- the country's largest wholesale onion market --the average wholesale rates of onions zoomed by 40 percent on Monday.

Average price of onions per 100 kgs rose from Rs 1,280 to Rs 1,800 on Monday with minimum and maximum prices being recorded at Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,100 per 100 kgs respectively.

[ Rs 100 = €1.10 ]


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