NEW DEHLI: Though the government has lifted the ban on onion exports, the Indian produce is losing out to its rivals from neighboring China and Pakistan due to high prices and uncertain policies, according to exporters.
“We exported a meagre 4,000-5,000 tons of onions last week (from September 20, when the ban was lifted),” a senior office-bearer of the Mumbai-based Agriculture Export Association (AEA) said according to Indian media.
India is the world’s second-largest onion producer after China. The Indian government had fixed the minimum export price (MEP) for onions at $475 a ton after lifting a ban on exports on September 20. The ban was in force for two weeks as a precautionary measure to maintain domestic supply of the bulb and check inflation.
Onions from China and Pakistan, which are selling at $300 per ton and $325/ton, respectively, in international markets, have rendered the Indian produce uncompetitive, the sources said. In normal times, the export figure would be as high as 70,000 tons a month, he added.
“In the absence of Indian onions (due to the ban from September 9-20 this year), many Singapore traders have contracted with Chinese exporters for a month, leaving no place for Indian produce,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2011.