Demand for Indian onion in overseas markets have been hit by exports by Pakistan with the outbound shipment of the farm item from this country declining by about 29 per cent in September.

“India’s onion export in the last month fell to 94,836 tonnes against 1,34,040 tonnes a year earlier, mainly due to exports by Pakistan to mainly West Asian countries and Sri Lanka,” said a senior official with Nafed, which oversees onion export.

The nations Pakistan is now exporting onion to had imported heavily from India in the last fiscal, helping push up the country’s overseas shipment of the commodity to a record 17.6 lakh tonnes.

Ironically, Pakistan, too, had imported 1,69,918 tonnes from India last year after a failure of crop there. However, it has cut down on imports from India as it has harvested a good crop this year. And it has started exporting.

Though India’s onion export so far this fiscal at 9.91 lakh tonnes has exceeded 9.15 lakh tonnes achieved a year earlier, the dip in demand from Pakistan since May-end and its shipment to nations which would otherwise have imported from India posed a challenge.

Onion from the major growing region of Nasik is usually exported to Pakistan and some Gulf countries while that from the southern part of India is shipped to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, Nafed has decided against raising the minimum export price of onion for October from the current average of $ 215-220 a tonne though it says it is keeping a close eye on domestic supply of the farm commodity.

Wholesale prices of onion are ruling at Rs 1,401 a quintal in the major trading region of Lasalgaon in Maharashtra. The rates stand at Rs 1,550 a quintal in Delhi.