India lifts ban on onion exports

The Indian government on Saturday lifted the ban on onion export, a move that will bring huge relief to traders in Maharashtra. This also comes just before the next phases of Lok Sabha election, particularly in the onion belts in Maharashtra.

In a notification, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) fixed the Minimum Export Price (MEP) for onion at $550 per tonne.

While putting onion export under “prohibited” category, govt had been allowing limited exports after getting requests from some countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and UAE.

Onion traders and farmers, particularly from Maharashtra, had been demanding to lift ban arguing this would help farmers get better price. But government didn’t relent fearing export of the key kitchen item may push up domestic prices, reports Times of India.

In another move, government on Friday exempted ‘desi chana’ (Bengal gram) from import duty till March 2025 amid indications of fall in chana production.

Government also extended the duty exemption on imports of yellow peas for which bill of entry issued on or before Oct 31, 2024.

During the past month Chana prices have increased more than 10% to around Rs 6,300 a quintal in Delhi compared to Rs 5,700 last month. Traders said India gets Bengal gram from countries, including Australia and Tanzania.

Government has been closely monitoring the prices of key food items as it is keen to ensure that prices do not rise at a time when the country is in the midst of elections.

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