The government has banned onion exports till March 31, 2024, to ensure enough availability in the local markets and keep a check on domestic prices.

The export policy of onions is amended from ‘free’ to ‘prohibited’ till March 31, 2024, and the notification will come into effect from December 08, 2023, per a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

For a smooth transition, the DGFT will allow consignments of onions to be exported on fulfillment of any of the three conditions. These include instances where the loading of onions on the ship has commenced before the prohibition notification; where the shipping bill is filed and vessels have already berthed or arrived and anchored in Indian ports for loading of onion and their rotation number has been allocated before the notification; and where consignments of onions have been handed over to the Customs before the notification was registered in their system/where consignments onions have entered the Customs Station for exportation before registration of the  notification. The period of export for these exceptions shall be up to January 5, 2024.

Export of onions will also be allowed on the basis of permission granted by the Centre to other countries based on requests, the notification added.

To combat spiraling prices, the Centre had imposed a Minimum Export Price of $800 per tonne on onions in October this year. Earlier, in August, the government imposed a 40 per cent export duty on onions.

Despite the government’s efforts to manage the situation, onion prices have been galloping with an estimated 58 per cent increase in November 2023 attributable partly to lower kharif sowing and high festive demand. In December, too, prices remained high with retail prices in Delhi at about ₹60-70 per kg.