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Onion export duty: Amid protests, MoS tells farmers prices will not crash

The government has taken the (export duty) decision to balance demand and supply and NAFED has been directed to procure additional two lakh tonnes of onion as buffer stock, Pawar said

MoS Bharti Pawar

MoS Bharti Pawar

Press Trust of India Nashik

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Amid a protest by farmers and traders against the imposition of 40 per cent export duty on onions by the Centre, Union Minister Bharti Pawar on Monday said prices of the kitchen staple will not crash.
During the day, auctions of onions in APMCs in Nashik were halted in protest and several farmers and traders held protests across the district seeking a rollback of the export duty.
"Prices of onions will not crash so farmers must not worry. The demand is growing and thinking about the people first is the policy of the Union government," she told reporters here.
The government has taken the (export duty) decision to balance demand and supply and NAFED has been directed to procure additional two lakh tonnes of onion as buffer stock, Pawar said.
She said the opposition was attacking the government over the rise in prices of onions and the move was to ensure there is availability of the crop in the domestic market.
She said Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have ensured the buffer stock is increased to five lakh tonnes so that people get relief from high prices.
She claimed the entry of NAFED to procure the crop has benefitted farmers who are getting remunerative prices.
"Farmers have understood this but some sections are trying to create misunderstanding among the public," Pawar, who is Union Minister of State for Health and BJP MP from Dindori, said in an apparent swipe at the opposition parties.
Earlier in the day, traders decided to close onion auctions indefinitely in all the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in the district, including at Lasalgaon, which is the largest wholesale onion market in India.
However, APMC sources said onion auctions took place in Vinchur.
The Nashik District Onion Traders Association had given the call to not take part in auctions of the kitchen staple indefinitely till the Centre rolls back its decision, sources said.
The Union government on August 19 imposed 40 per cent duty on the export of onions to increase domestic availability amid signs of increasing prices and in view of the upcoming festival season.
The export duty, which is the first time ever on onion, was imposed by the Finance Ministry through a Customs notification and will be in force till December 31.
Between April 1 and August 4 this fiscal, 9.75 lakh tonne of onions have been exported from the country. The top three importing countries in value terms are Bangladesh, Malaysia and the UAE.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 21 2023 | 11:10 PM IST

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