Pune: Uncertainty Surrounds Onion Export Ban Extension: Farmers and Traders Seek Clarity

Share this News:

Chakan, 23rd March 2024: As the Lok Sabha elections loom large, the issue of onion exports remains contentious, with uncertainty prevailing despite announcements of the ban’s impending lift after March 31. Speculation arises whether the Central Government deliberately maintains this ambiguity to safeguard votes, as the confusion persists. Farmers and traders alike question the motives behind the ongoing export opposition.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently extended the onion export ban beyond March 31, 2024, until further notice, contrary to farmers’ expectations. This decision has dashed hopes of favourable prices for both rabi season and summer onions. Additional Secretary Santosh Kumar Sarangi confirmed this extension, leaving onion producers and traders grappling with financial losses amid the government’s perplexing stance on exports.

Initially slated until March 31, the ban now stands indefinitely, exacerbating hardships for farmers and traders. The imposition of a 40% export duty previously led to a drastic drop in onion prices, triggering widespread protests and financial setbacks for farmers and traders alike. Despite market fluctuations, prices in key markets like Chakan and Nashik now range from Rs 8 to 14 per kilogram, causing mounting concerns among stakeholders.

The lack of clarity in the export policy has flooded domestic markets with surplus onions, exacerbating the price decline. Farmers, who require prices of at least Rs 20 per kilogram to cover production costs, now face significant losses as prices plummet to Rs 8-14. Stakeholders, including onion exporters and market committee officials, stress the urgent need for a coherent export policy to safeguard farmers’ interests.

The prevailing confusion has deterred traders and companies from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Mumbai from purchasing onions for export in key markets like Chakan. This absence of demand further exacerbates the price decline, prompting appeals for clarity from the Central government and the Foreign Trade Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

As the election season intensifies, stakeholders urge swift action to clarify the onion export policy to alleviate the mounting concerns of farmers and traders alike.