Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today asked the commerce ministry to fix export floor price of onion at USD 450 a tonne and remove export sops to curb shipments and boost local supply, even as he blamed hoarders for spike in onion prices.
Retail onion prices have soared up to Rs 50 per kg in major cities in view of tight supplies during monsoon season.
"There is sufficient availability of onion in the market. Hoarders and middlemen are responsible for price rise of onion," Paswan tweeted.
In order to control prices and boost availability in the domestic market, Paswan said he has requested the commerce ministry for "imposition of MEP (minimum export price) of USD 450 per tonne on onion".
He has also sought withdrawal of incentives given to traders for export of onion.
To crack down against hoarders and black-marketeers, Paswan said state governments have been asked to take "stringent action against such people."
Onion MEP was scrapped in December 2015. The MEP is the minimum rate below which exports should not be undertaken.
Last fiscal, the country had exported 34.92 lakh tonnes of onion.
The minister highlighted that the country's onion production was higher at 215 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 as compared to Rs 209 lakh tonnes in the previous year.
Currently, onion stock of 2016-17 is being consumed now. The new kharif crop is expected to arrive in full swing from next month.
Besides onion, tomato prices have been ruling high for more than a month now.
However, prices of many commodities like pulses and oilseeds have crashed below the support price, causing distress to farmers. The government has recently capped import of tur dal.