Applicable to varieties other than Bangalore Rose and Krishnapuram; relief to both farmers and exporters
In a major relief to farmers and exporters, the Centre on Wednesday slashed the minimum export price (MEP) for onions by 25 per cent to $450 a tonne from $600.
“Minimum Export Price of onions other than Bangalore Rose onions and Krishnapuram will be $450 per tonne freight on board,” Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
Last month, the government had lifted a ban on onion exports after farmers protested a crash in domestic prices, but restricted overseas sales by capping the MEP at $600 a tonne as a precautionary measure to control local prices, which had shot up to Rs.70-80 a kg in December last.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had earlier indicated that the MEP of $600 a tonne was almost double the prevailing rate in international markets, rendering them uncompetitive. The MEP for Bangalore Rose and Krishnapuram onions was $1,400 a tonne.
The DGFT notification appears to be aimed at rectifying the situation. Onion production in the country is likely to be around 10.5 million tonnes in 2010-11, down from 12 million tonnes last year.
Port curbs on rice
Further, the DGFT also said three varieties of rice (Sona Masuri, Ponni Samba and Matta), whose exports were allowed last month, would be subject to port restrictions. “The export of ‘Sona Masuri' was allowed from the Chennai and Vishakhapatnam sea ports with a quantity cap of 50,000 tonnes from each port. While 25,000 tonnes of ‘Ponni Samba' exports were permitted from Tuticorin sea port, a similar quantity of ‘Matta' was allowed from the Cochin sea port,” it said.
“The export would be in consumer packs of up to 10 kg each,” the DGFT said. The shipments would be allowed only during the kharif marketing season 2010-11, which is up to September 30. In addition, a maximum quantity of 5,000 tonnes of all three varieties would be allowed for export, as per the Import/Export Code.