Onion steady as export ban goes

M. R. Subramani Indore | Updated on March 12, 2018

onion_481739a.jpg   -  Business Line

Onion prices ruled steady in the markets around the country's major producing centres, as the Centre lifted the ban on onion exports and arrivals prevented any major rise in the rates.

At Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, the modal price or the rate at which most trades took place was Rs 925 a quintal. In Pune, the modal price was Rs 750 a quintal against Rs 650 last week. Quality onions fetched over Rs 1,100 a quintal in both markets.

?A relief?

?The lifting of the export ban is definitely a relief. But buyers abroad have been put off by the floor price fixed by the Centre at $600 a tonne,? said Mr Rupesh Jaju, director of Nashik-based United Agri-Pacific Ltd.

?Despite higher prices, there is demand for Indian onion since it is still cheaper than from other sources,? said Mr Madan Prakash, Director at Chennai-based Rajathi Group of Companies.

Exporters, however, are awaiting the notification from the Director-General of Foreign Trade. After banning onion exports in December when the prices vaulted to nearly Rs 100 a kg in retail markets, the Centre lifted the ban on Thursday. However, it fixed a minimum export price to ensure adequate availability in the domestic market at affordable rates.

?Prices have not seen any knee-jerk reaction in sympathy with the decision to export. This is because arrivals are good. In and around Nashik, arrivals are very good. Arrivals are expected to continue until the summer crop arrives,? said Mr Jaju.

For example, arrivals at Lasalgaon, Asia's biggest onion market, have been nearly 2,000 tonnes almost throughout this week. On Friday, arrivals were 2,004 tonnes against 2,200 on Thursday.

Good rabi expected

The summer or rabi onion arrival is likely towards March-end and according to traders, the arrivals could be good.

?Many opted to cultivate onion this time in view of the high prices. We expect a good crop,? said Mr Jaju.

?Prices are likey to rule around this level for the next few weeks since arrivals are matching demand,? said Mr Prakash.

Onion prices shot up in December and ruled high until the middle of January as the kharif crop was affected by untimely rains in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Arrivals, too, were delayed, forcing the Centre to ban exports and take measures such as launching raids on traders.

However, with arrivals peaking in the last couple of weeks, prices crashed to around Rs 5 a kg in the growing centres, leading to an agitation by growers.

Though exports, for one, were blamed, they were, in fact, lower than last year.

Published on February 18, 2011

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