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Govt imposes MEP on onions to boost local supplies

Retail onion prices, which have shot up to Rs 50-65 per kg in most cities, have come under pressure due to tight supplies

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Onions, onion prices, onion export, onion import
Maharashtra, Karnataka, MP, Bihar and Gujarat are major onion-producing states

The government on Thursday imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of $850 per tonne on onions to increase domestic supplies and check rising prices. MEP is the minimum rate below which exports are not allowed. MEP was scrapped in December 2015. In a notification, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said: "Export of onions...shall be permitted only on letter of credit (LC) subject to a MEP of $850 per tonne till December 31, 2017." Concerned over the rise in prices, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in August had sought that MEP be imposed on its exports by the commerce ministry. He also sought the removal of sops on export of the kitchen staple. Retail prices, which have shot up to Rs 50-65 per kg in most cities, have come under pressure due to tight domestic supplies. The government has asked state-run MMTC to import 2,000 tonnes of onion, while other agencies National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) and SFAC to buy onions locally and supply in consuming areas. Supplies got exhausted as large quantity of exports were undertaken in the first four months of the current financial year.

The country exported 1.2 million tonnes in April-July, up by 56 per cent from a year ago. Also, the new 2017-18 kharif crop, which is being harvested, is expected to be lower, owing to fall in acreage. A senior consumer affairs ministry official had recently said the new kharif crop is likely to be lower by 10 per cent, as area sown is 30 per cent lower. About 40 per cent of the country’s total crop is produced in the kharif season, and the rest during the rabi season. The kharif crop, however, cannot be stored. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat are the major onion-producing states.

First Published: Fri, November 24 2017. 02:34 IST