Centre imposes 40% duty on onion exports, to offload stocks

NCP leader Supriya Sule questions the move, asks Centre to ensure remunerative prices for onion farmers

Updated - August 20, 2023 07:35 am IST

Published - August 19, 2023 07:20 pm IST - New Delhi

A labourer shortlist onion at APMC wholesale Market in Ahmedabad. File

A labourer shortlist onion at APMC wholesale Market in Ahmedabad. File | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

The Centre, on Saturday, imposed a 40% duty on the export of onions. The Centre will also offload stocks of onions in various wholesale markets to reduce the retail prices. The national average prices of the essential vegetable had increased by at least ₹5 compared to last year.

On Saturday, the national average price was ₹30.72 per kilogram, with a maximum price of ₹63 per kilogram in Champhai in Manipur and a minimum of ₹10 per kilogram at Neemuch and Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. “This notification shall come into force with immediate effect, and will remain in force up to and inclusive of the December 31, 2023,” a gazette notification of the Union Finance Ministry’s Revenue Department said. NCP leader and MP Supriya Sule questioned the move and urged the Centre to ensure remunerative prices for onion farmers.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said the decision was taken in order to increase the availability of onions in the domestic market especially in view of the upcoming festival season. “It was also being noticed that there was a sharp rise in exports in the recent past,” he told The Hindu. He added that the Centre auctioned two truckloads, each with 30 metric tonnes of onion, in Azadpur market here and the NAFED auctioned three truckloads. He said the Centre, at a rate of ₹23 per kilogram and ₹22.5 per kilogram, plans to offload at least five truckloads per day in the coming week.

Mr. Singh said the market has started cooling by the announcement for offloading by the Centre. “We expect the rates to go down further on Monday. Because of our intervention, private traders who were holding on to their stocks have also started offloading fearing crash in prices,” he said.

Responding to a statement made by Ms. Sule in February that the Centre was trying to ban or regulate onion export harming the farmers, the Union Commerce Ministry said there was no such move. “Government has not restricted or prohibited the export of onion. The extant export policy of onions is ‘free’. Only the export of onion seed is ‘Restricted’ and that too is permitted under Authorisation from Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT),” the Centre had said. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had also questioned Ms. Sule’s stand.

Ms. Sule said she was always speaking the truth. “I was talking what I was hearing from the ground. Farmers were telling me that there was a plan to ban or regulate the export. I requested the Commerce Ministry to drop this plan. I was told that there was no such plan. But now, they are regulating the export of onions. There has to be a balance between the interests of farmers and consumers. Farmers should get remunerative price. Consumers should get onions at a reasonable price. It is the duty of the government to ensure a win win situation,” she added.

According to the Commerce Ministry, in the ongoing financial year, about 9.75 lakh tonnes of onions have been exported. Bangladesh, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates are the major importers of onions from India.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.