Indian government allows Onion Exports to UAE Amidst Export Restrictions

The Indian government has granted permission for the export of 50,000 tonnes of onions to Bangladesh and 14,400 tonnes to the UAE amidst restrictions on outward shipments of this staple vegetable.

In accordance with an official notification from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), a quarterly ceiling of 3,600 tonnes has been set for exports to the UAE.

Regarding exports to Bangladesh, the modalities will be determined by the National Cooperative Exports Limited (NCEL) in consultation with the Department of Consumer Affairs, as outlined in the notification.

In response to escalating onion prices, the Indian government had previously imposed a prohibition on onion exports until March 2024. However, exceptions are now being made for exports to other countries based on specific requests and permissions granted by the central government.

To address price inflation and enhance domestic supplies, a 40 per cent duty was imposed on onion exports until December 31, 2023. Additionally, a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of $800 per tonne was established for onion exports starting from October 29.

While the export duty applied to most onion varieties, the export of 'Bangalore rose onion' was exempted, provided exporters furnished a certificate from the Horticulture Commissioner of the Government of Karnataka verifying the item and quantity of onions to be exported. Bangalore rose onion, recognized with a Geographical Indication tag in 2015, is a distinct variety grown in and around Bengaluru, Karnataka.

In response to the soaring onion prices, the central government has been releasing onions from its buffer stock. For the 2023-24 season, the government plans to maintain a buffer stock of 300,000 tonnes, compared to 251,000 tonnes in the previous season. Buffer stocks are essential for meeting unforeseen demands and stabilizing prices during periods of low supply.

The Rabi onion harvest, which occurs from April to June, contributes 65 per cent of India's onion production and typically fulfills consumer demand until the Kharif crop is harvested between October and November.

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