The export of onion has been put under prohibition w.e.f. 8th December, 2023 till 31st March, 2024 to ensure availability of onion to the domestic consumers at affordable prices.
The Government took the decision taking into account delay in Kharif arrival, the quantity of onion exported and global situation such as trade and non-trade restrictions imposed by major suppliers such as Turkey, Egypt and Iran. To ensure that farmers are not adversely affected, the government is continuously procuring onions from the farmers under the Price Stabilisation Fund.
In current year, the Government had directed NCCF and NAFED to procure 7 lakh tonnes of onion for the buffer. Till date, about 5.10 lakh tonnes had been procured, and procurement of remaining quantity is ongoing. Onions procure by the government are continuously disposed in high price markets through open market sales and direct retail sales to consumers.
Out of 2.73 lakh tonnes of onion disposed from the buffer, nearly 20,700 MT has been sold to retail consumers in 213 cities through 2,139 retail points. Due to these multi-pronged interventions, the all-India average retail price for onion has been brought down from Rs.59.9 per kg on 17 November to Rs.56.8 per kg on 8th December.
It may be recalled that on 29th October, Government has imposed Minimum Export Price (MEP) of USD 800 per ton for onion exports and simultaneously disposing onion buffer stock. While the MEP had been effective in reducing the quantum of onion exports, sizable quantities continued to be exported due to global situation and delayed arrival of kharif crop.
The Government is keeping a close watch on the onion crop availability and prices to take necessary measures in the interest of both the consumers and the farmers. The procurement of onions from farmers under the Price Stabilisation will continue to ensure remunerative prices to farmers and both wholesale and retail interventions will continue in high price markets to make onions available to consumers at affordable prices.