Onion exports resume as Centre lifts curb; 3,600 tonness shipped

Around 3,600 tonness of onion has been shipped to Sri Lanka and West Asian countries as part of the first outbound consignment after the Union government lifted ban on the exports of the kitchen staple.

The Centre had banned onion exports on September 29 last year and imposed countrywide stock limits to control soaring prices of the commodity ahead of assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. The ban was lifted with effect from March 15 after a notification was issued by Directorate General of Foreign Trade of the Department of Commerce.

Onion traders in Nashik are upbeat on the resumption of exports and hope to ship at least 2 lakh tonness of the commodity by next month. “Exporters expect at least 1 lakh tonnes to be exported from the country in the next fortnight. We expect a total of at least 2 lakh tonnes to be exported with one lakh tonnes to be completed in 15 days and another one lakh tonnes next month,” said Ajit Shah, president, Onion Exporters Association of India to Financial Express.

He said, there are demands from neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Asian nations, but the outbreak of coronavirus can hit the trade. Exporters however lament the late decision by the government. Exports have begun but the lifting of restrictions from the government has come a bit late, especially with the panic in the market over the coronavirus outbreak.

According to exporters, onions from Nashik are in demand in Dubai, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The first consignment of onions began from the Inland Container Depot (ICD) and air cargo complex of Halcon, a JV between Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and Container Corporation of India (Concor).   

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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