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Government Approval of Onion Export to Friendly Countries

In response to requests from friendly nations including Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mauritius, and Bhutan, the Indian government has granted approval for the export of onions. India, a significant global exporter of onions, had enforced a ban on onion exports in December 2023, leading to soaring prices in these nations.

Export Quotas to Respective Countries

India has agreed to export 50,000 tonnes of onions to Bangladesh, 550 tonnes to Bhutan, 3,000 tonnes to Bahrain, 1,200 tonnes to Mauritius, and 14,400 tonnes to the United Arab Emirates. These countries heavily rely on Indian onions to meet their domestic demands, and the ban on exports had severely impacted their markets, causing price spikes and inconvenience.

Government Measures to Control Onion Prices

Recognizing the political sensitivity and essential nature of onions in Indian households, the government has taken several steps to stabilize prices. These measures included imposing export taxes, setting minimum export prices, and ultimately enforcing a complete export ban due to anticipated declines in production during the rabi season.

Onion Season in India

India’s onion cultivation occurs primarily during the Rabi (winter), Kharif, and late Kharif (summer/monsoon) seasons. The Rabi season, which yields around 72-75% of India’s onion production, witnesses harvesting between April and May. Onions harvested during this season have a longer shelf life and are crucial for maintaining year-long supplies.

Government Initiatives to Build Onion Buffer Stock

To ensure stable onion supplies, the Indian government aims to procure 5 lakh tonnes of onions for the 2024-25 buffer stock. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) and the National Consumer Cooperative Consumers Federation of India Limited (NCCF) have been appointed as procurement agencies for this purpose.

Onion Production Landscape in India

India ranks as the second-largest onion-growing country globally, with Maharashtra leading production followed by states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Gujarat. In the 2022-23 fiscal year, India emerged as the largest onion-exporting nation, exporting significant volumes to countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Indonesia.

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