India imposes stock limit on onion trade; bans exports

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In view of sustained high price of onions in the market, Central Government has imposed stock limits on onion traders to facilitate release of stocks in the market and prevention of hoarding by traders.

Further, the government of India has banned export of onions with immediate effect till further orders for improving domestic availability. Recently, on 13 September 2019, the Minimum Export Price of $ 850 F.O.B. per tonne was imposed on export of onions. Though there was some reduction in export of onions thereafter, yet the exports were still continuing. The ban on export of onions is expected to improve domestic availability and cool prices.

In the past, Centre had authorised the state governments to impose stock limits. This time, Centre has decided to impose stock limits directly upon the states across India. The stock limit of 100 quintal on retail traders and 500 quintals on wholesale traders has been imposed across the country.

Centre has asked the state governments to enforce the stock limits strictly and carry out anti-hoarding operations against the unscrupulous traders by organising raids, etc.

A central buffer of about 56,700 million tonnes was built by the government through NAFED during Rabi 2019 season. This buffer stock is being utilised for supplies to Delhi at a rate of not more than 23.90 per kg. Haryana and Andhra Pradesh are also being supplied from the buffer. Other States have also been asked to utilise this buffer and indicate their demand for the same to Department of Consumer Affairs and/or NAFED.

The reported export below Minimum Export Price to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be immediately stopped and strict action will be initiated against those who are found to be violating this decision of the Central Government, the government said in a notification.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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