Onion prices double on low supply

Exporters may suffer a loss of $60 million this year.


Kashif Hussain September 05, 2011

KARACHI: Recent floods have severely affected the onion crop in the country, leading to a 100 per cent increase in the price of the commodity in the retail market.

Onion exporters are particularly concerned over the situation, as Sindh was expected to produce 200,000 tons of onion out of the target of 275,000 tons to fulfil their export orders.

According to an estimate, exporters may suffer a loss of $60 million this year.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the former chairman of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Importers Exporters and Merchants Association, Wahid Ahmed, asked the government to provide farmers with free seeds and subsidies on agricultural inputs.

Last year, 0.25 million tons of onion was exported to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Dubai, Bahrain, Singapore and Mauritius at the per-ton price of $275-$300.

Ahmed said that the export market was favourable for Pakistan in the current year because of India’s limited output, adding that Pakistani exporters had received huge export orders.

According to sources, 40,000 tons of onion from Balochistan has already been exported since the beginning of the current season in June. They added that exporters depended on the onion crops in Sindh to meet the rest of their export orders between September and February next year.

The sources said that Tando Allahyar, Thatta, Nasrpur, Mirpurkhas, Kunri and Thana Bola Khan produced about one million tons of onion every year which fulfilled 50 per cent of the local demand while meeting 80 to 90 per cent of the onion export targets.

The price of onion in Sindh has increased to Rs1,500 per 40 kilograms (kg) during the last two weeks. Its retail price has also increased from Rs15-20 to Rs35 per kg. The sources said that its price might increase to Rs50 per kg.

Ahmed said that the government should exempt onion from import duty so that it could be imported from Egypt, Iran and China to meet the local demand.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th,  2011.

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