Farmer bodies across Maharashtra have urged the Centre to lift the ban on onion export as prices have started declining. On Monday, wholesale onion at Lasalgaon were available at a minimum price of Rs 1,000 per quintal and the maximum price of Rs 3,600, with modal prices touching Rs 2,500 per quintal for red and Rs 1,400 for the Golti (old) variety. Daily arrivals are around 2,500 quintal.
President of the Maharashtra State Onion Producers Association Bharat Dighole said the association has submitted representations to several government authorities seeking resumption of export.
In a notification issued on September 14, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said export of onions in forms other than cut, sliced or powder was banned. “The export on all varieties of onions is prohibited with immediate effect,” said the notification.
Jaydutta Holkar, director, Vashi Agriculture Market Produce Committee (APMC), and former chairman, Lasalgaon APMC, said the government was quick to issue orders to ban exports when prices had touched Rs 5,000 per quintal, but is keeping mum now when prices have dropped to Rs 2,000. Holkar has warned that if onion exports do not open immediately, the Mumbai APMC will contact the market committees across the state and decide to shut market committees indefinitely until the demand is met.
“Prices of onion went up to Rs 5,000 on September 14, and the Centre immediately imposed an export ban. After that, the income tax department raided traders to prevent the price of onion from increasing. The government also decided to import onion to reduce prices,” he said.
Onion prices have dropped to Rs 15-25 per kg from Rs 30-40 per kg a few days ago at the Navi Mumbai APMC wholesale market. A surge in arrivals from local producers and imports from Turkey, Iran and Egypt have eased prices. The fresh crop has started arriving.
Prices of the kitchen staple had started rising in mid-August and were elevated till the last week of October. Heavy rains in August and September had caused damage to the standing crop, delaying arrivals of the new crop by a month.