Govt allows additional 10,000 tonnes of onion exports to UAE

New Delhi: The government has allowed the export of an additional 10,000 tonnes of onion to the UAE, through the National Cooperative Exports Ltd (NCEL), as a friendly gesture at a time when the Eid festival is approaching.

The order, issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) late on Tuesday, will be in addition to the 14,400 tonnes of onion that was earlier permitted for export to the UAE on March 1. This was being done through the NCEL which placed a quantity ceiling of 3,600 metric tonnes for each quarter.

As much as 79,150 tonnes of onions have now been approved for export to meet the commitment made to friendly countries since the ban on shipments was announced on December 8, 2023, to control rising domestic prices.

The global supply scenario and the dry spell induced by El Nino necessitated the government to take up policy measures to regulate onion exports during FY 2023-24. These measures included a 40 per cent duty on onion exports imposed on August 19, 2023, imposition of a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of USD 800 per MT with effect from October 29, 2023, and export prohibition with effect from December 8, 2023, to ensure availability of onion to the domestic consumers at affordable prices.

With rising onion prices, the Central government has been releasing the staple vegetable from its buffer stock.

It had directed NCCF and NAFED on March 26 to buy 5 lakh tonnes of onion for the country’s buffer requirement directly from farmers during the ongoing Rabi-2024 harvest.

Rabi onion crop is critical for the country’s onion availability as it contributes 72 -75 per cent of annual production in the country. The Rabi onion is also crucial for ensuring year-round availability of onion as it has a better shelf life compared to Kharif onion and can be stored for supplies till November-December.

The Department of Consumer Affairs had, through NAFED and NCCF, purchased about 6.4 lakh metric tonnes of onion during 2023-24 for buffer stocking as well as intervention by way of simultaneous procurement and disposal.

The continuous procurements by NAFED and NCCF have guaranteed remunerative prices for onion farmers all through the year in 2023 while at the same time, taking care of the interest of consumers.