Farmers in Nashik, Nagar stop auction of onions after Centre bans export
Farmers and traders from Nashik and Ahmednagar districts stopped the auctioning of onions on Friday after the Centre prohibited the export of onions till March 2024
Farmers and traders from Nashik and Ahmednagar districts stopped the auctioning of onions on Friday after the Centre prohibited the export of onions till March 2024. The auctioning of onions at various Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), including one at Lasalgaon in Nashik district, was stopped. The farmers staged a rasta roko and blocked the Mumbai-Agra highway and Yeola-Manmad route. Only after police intervention did the farmers clear both roads and allow vehicular traffic to pass.
Pravin Kadam, director, Lasalgaon APMC, said, “When farmers were hoping for better rates, the Centre suddenly banned the export of onions. The decision is harmful to farmers and we will not resume auction unless the Centre revokes the decision.”
The DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) notification issued late Thursday evening stated that the export of onions will however be allowed based on permission granted by the central government to other countries. Onions are currently being sold at around Rs60 per kg in retail markets, and the latest decision is likely to bring down the prices of the kitchen staple.
Earlier in August, the government had imposed a 40% duty on the export of onions to check price rise and improve supplies in the domestic market till December 31, 2023. The central government subsequently set up a minimum export price (MEP) of $800 per tonne on a free-on-board basis for the export of onions with effect from October 29. Meanwhile, officials from the Nashik district administration said that the marketing board of the state government is likely to hold a meeting with farmers, traders and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.) on Monday. The farmers however said that they have not received any intimation about the meeting.
Faced with rising prices of onions, the central government has been releasing the staple vegetable from its buffer stock. The central government had earlier decided that it would maintain 3 lakh tonne of onions in the 2023-24 season as buffer stock. In 2022-23, the government had maintained 2.51 lakh tonne of onions as buffer stock. Buffer stock is maintained to meet any exigencies and for price stabilisation if the rates go up significantly during the lean supply season. The Rabi onion harvested from April to June accounts for 65% of India’s onion production and meets the consumers’ demand till the Kharif crop is harvested from October to November.
(With agency inputs)