India exports 87,000 tons of onion during Jan-Feb

India exports 87,000 tons of onion during Jan-Feb

New Delhi: India has exported 87,000 tonnes of onion in the January-February period after the ban was lifted in view of good kharif crop estimates, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said in Parliament.

The government lifted the ban on export with effect from January 1 in view of good prospects of kharif and late kharif production estimates, he said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

"After recent lifting of the ban, the export of onion in the months of January and February 2021 has been 56,000 tonnes and 31,000 tonnes respectively, as against monthly average export of 2.18 lakh tonnes prior to imposition of ban in September, 2020," Tomar said.

The All India average retail prices of onion in December 2020 was Rs 44.33 per kg, whereas during January and February 2021 the prices have been Rs 38.59 per kg and Rs 44.08 per kg, respectively, he added. In 2019-20, the country exported 11.50 lakh tonne of onion at a value of Rs 2,320.70 crore. The minister said the government has approved creation of 2 lakh tonne of onion buffer during 2021-22 under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF), which would be built by procuring the Rabi crop arriving from March this year.

To check onion prices last year, Tomar said the government had released onion from the buffer stock of 1 lakh tonne created from Rabi-2020 onion in a calibrated manner to moderate prices of onion since September 2020.

The government had also approved procurement of 1 lakh tonne of onion from the Kharif 2020 crop under the PSF to recoup the buffer for further retail intervention besides banning export in September last year and imposing a stock limit on traders.

To augment domestic availability of onion through import, the government had eased the fumigation and quarantine norms and also accorded approval for procuring and disposal of the imported onion by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) at pre-decided ceiling price through the issue of tenders at regular intervals.

"As a result of these measures, onion import came in significant quantities from October onward, and by the end of December, 2020 a total of over 65,546 MT was imported," he added.

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