India extends onion export restrictions until 31 March

Abu Sufian

India has extended onion export restrictions, setting the minimum export price at $800 until 31 March next year.

The decision, effective immediately, has been made to increase domestic availability and to keep prices in check, said a notification issued by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

According to the notification, consignments of onions will be allowed to be exported on fulfilment of any one of the following three conditions –

Where loading of onions on the ship has commenced before this notification.

Where the shipping bill is filed and vessels have already berthed or arrived and anchored in Indian ports for loading of onion and their rotation number has been allocated before this notification.

The approval of loading in such vessels will be issued only after confirmation by the concerned Port Authorities regarding anchoring/berthing of the ship for loading of onions before the notification.

Where consignments of onions have been handed over to the Customs before this notification and are registered in their system /where consignments of onions have entered

the Customs Station for exportation before this notification and are registered in the electronic systems of the concerned Custodian of the Customs Station with verifiable

evidence of date and time stamping of these commodities having entered the Customs Station before issuance of this Notification.

Earlier on 20 August, the Revenue Department of the Indian Finance Ministry imposed a 40% duty on onion exports to Bangladesh, causing a hike in the price of the item mainly

used as spice in local markets. Later, the Indian government set a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of $800 per tonne on a free-on-board basis for the export of onions with effect from 29 October. In May of 2022, the Bangladeshi government halted the import of onion from

India to ensure local onion farmers a fair price for the commodity. The move had caused a hike in the prices of onions.

India had banned the export of all varieties of onion, except those cut, sliced or in powder form in 2020 to cap its rising prices in the domestic market. The move came amid flood

ruining most of India’s onion production, prompting the supply crunch. According to the Department of Agriculture, the annual production of onions in Bangladesh has been more

than 35 lakh tonnes for the past few years, and the demand is around 28 lakh tonnes. Even though production is high, it has to be imported, as 25% or more of the onion produced is wasted due to storage and management complications.

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