Centre bans onion exports, imposes stock limits for traders

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

The Centre last month warned of strict action against hoarding of onion. File Photo | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

As per the latest directive, wholesale traders can stock up to 500 quintals, retail traders can store 100 quintals

As onion prices continue to spiral in the retail market, the Centre on Sunday banned the export of all varieties of the bulb with immediate effect and imposed stock limits on both retail and wholsesale traders.

In a notification, the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said the export policy of onions is amended from “free to prohibited till further orders”.

Providing relief

The Consumer Affairs Ministry, meanwhile, imposed a stock limit of up to 100 quintals on retail traders and 500 quintals on wholesale traders to improve the domestic availability of onion, hoping this will provide some relief to consumers.

Also read: Govt imposes $850/tonne minimum export price on onion

The DGFT took the decision to ban exports with immediate effect following a letter from Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K Srivastava on Sunday. 

In the letter, Srivastava said that increasing the minimum export price (MEP) of onion to $850 per tonne on September 13 had some positive impact, with exports coming down for a few days. However, exports, particularly to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, at prices lower than $850 a tonne, are still continuing, prompting the Ministry to impose a total ban.

“The ban is expected to improve its (onion) domestic availability and cool prices,” the Ministry said.


The Ministry also urged State governments to carry out anti-hoarding operations against unscrupulous traders by organising raids.

Buffer stock offloaded

In a related move, the Centre decided to offload its buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes across the country. These stocks will be made available to consumers in Delhi, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh at regulated prices, it said. Consequently, the state-run Mother Dairy and the cooperatives Nafed and NCCF are selling onion at a cheaper rate of ₹23.90 per kg in Delhi.

The Centre had, last month, warned of strict action against hoarding onion amid supply disruption due to floods in parts of major growing States Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Published on September 29, 2019
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