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Centre bans export of onions with immediate effect amid price hike

The government on Monday banned the export of all varieties of onions anticipating a shortfall as exports shot up 30% in the April-July period.

The exports of all kinds of onions have been prohibited with immediate effect, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade informed. The notice issued read, “The provisions under the Transitional Agreement shall not be applicable under this notification”

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India exported fresh onions worth $328 million and dried onions worth $112.3 million in FY20. Exports of onions shot up 158% to Bangladesh in the April-July period.

This comes even as the government is set to bring laws in Parliament to remove all stockholding and movement restrictions on farm produce.
Prices at Lasalgaon’s market in Nashik district started rising since early May. The recent appreciation of prices is mainly due to heavy August rain destroying the onion crop of north Karnataka, which was supposed to hit the market early September.

Suresh Deshmukh, a commission agent operating out of Dindori’s wholesale market in Nashik district, also said that the rain caused extensive damage to stored onions in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. “Thus, at present it is only Maharashtra which has stored market-ready onion and the supply crunch is set to continue until the new crop hits the market in November,” he said.

Regarding Monday’s decision, farmer leader Raju Shetti said, “This abrupt decision again proves the promises made by the central government were hollow. They had no intention of protecting the interests of farmers.” The founder of Swabhimani Paksha said that by prohibiting the export of onions, the central government has cheated farmers.
Calling the move illegal, Shetkari Sanghatana has called for an indefinite road closure in Maharashtra from Tuesday.

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