NEW DELHI: The government of India (GoI) 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. Onion 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 onion prices, India’s 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 onion prices, which have shot up to Rs 50-65 per kg in most cities, have come under pressure due to tight domestic supplies.
The GoI 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.