Agri Business

Coronavirus leaves Lasalgaon onion traders anxious about exports

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

Amid rising inflow of bulb into market, there’s little clarity on how the export market will pan out

Lasalgaon, Asia's largest wholesale market for onions, is gearing up for increased exports amid hopes that the coronavirus outbreak will not curtail demand for the bulb.

Maharashtra has a 33 per cent share of India’s onion production; 80-90 per cent of the onion that comes to the Lasalgaon market is of export quality. Suvarna Jagtap, Chairperson of APMC, Lasalgaon, told BusinessLine: “We are seeking information about issues that have emerged due to the spread of coronavirus. As per our information, some countries are not willing to accept vegetables and onions coming from India. As of now traders and exporters are busy going ahead with exports. But the situation is not yet clear.”

“We hope that the coronavirus outbreak will not have any impact on onion exports,” Lasalgaon-based onion trader Nitin Jain said. “Already, farmers are bringing additional stock into the market. This is affecting the price...prices are coming down because of a huge inflow in the market. Exporters in Nashik hope to export the maximum possible produce in the next few days. Loading of containers is not affected as of now.”

Nashik onions are in demand in Dubai, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Lasalgaon Merchants Association officials said exporters are taking all safety precautions against the backdrop of the Covid-19 spread.

Availability of containers

Traders complained that the availability of containers is one of the major problems for exporters. “The movement of containers has slowed down. Also, the vehicular movement within the country has become irregular,” they said.

The Centre had banned onion exports on September 29 last year and imposed countrywide stock limits to control soaring prices ahead of State elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. The export ban was lifted with effect from March 15. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce, has issued a notification in this regard.

The notification said onions, which were in the “prohibited” category, would be under the “free” category in the revised policy. Exports of all varieties of onions now do not require to meet any condition of Letter of Credit and Minimum Export Price.

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Published on March 17, 2020
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