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India Permits Onion Exports to UAE, Bangladesh; Imposes Quarterly Ceiling

India Permits Onion Exports to UAE, Bangladesh; Imposes Quarterly Ceiling

In a significant move, the Indian government has authorized the export of 14,400 tonnes of onions to the UAE and 50,000 tonnes to Bangladesh. This decision arrives amid continued restrictions on onion exports, with a quarterly limit of 3,600 tonnes set for shipments to the UAE.

The announcement, made by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), highlights India’s response to the global demand for onions, while also balancing domestic supply considerations.

Under the directive, the National Cooperative Exports Limited (NCEL), in consultation with the Department of Consumer Affairs, will manage the modalities for onion exports to Bangladesh. This strategic collaboration ensures efficient coordination in meeting export demands while safeguarding domestic availability.

It’s noteworthy that India had imposed a ban on onion exports until March 2024, reflecting the government’s efforts to stabilize prices and secure ample supplies for domestic consumption. However, export permissions are now being granted on a case-by-case basis, following requests from importing countries and approval from the central government.

Previously, in August, the government had levied a 40% duty on onion exports to mitigate price fluctuations and enhance domestic availability. Additionally, a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of $800 per tonne was set from October 29 onwards to regulate exports and manage market dynamics effectively.

Despite export restrictions, the exemption for ‘Bangalore rose onion’ from export duties underscores the government’s recognition of unique regional varieties. This move reflects a nuanced approach to export policies, balancing regulatory measures with the promotion of specific agricultural products.

‘Bangalore rose onion,’ recognized with a Geographical Indication tag, holds cultural and economic significance, with its exemption from export duties subject to certification from the Horticulture Commissioner, Government of Karnataka.

Amidst concerns over rising onion prices, the government has been actively releasing onions from its buffer stock. With a buffer stock target of 300,000 tonnes set for the 2023-24 season, the government aims to stabilize prices and ensure adequate supply during lean periods.

Rabi onion harvests, typically from April to June, contribute significantly to India’s onion production, meeting consumer demand until the Kharif crop is harvested later in the year. Buffer stock maintenance serves as a crucial mechanism for managing market volatility and addressing supply shortfalls.

The decision to allow onion exports to the UAE and Bangladesh reflects India’s commitment to international trade partnerships while safeguarding domestic interests. By imposing a quarterly ceiling for UAE shipments, the government aims to strike a balance between meeting global demand and ensuring domestic stability.

As India navigates the complexities of agricultural trade, policymakers continue to assess market conditions and implement measures that support both exporters and domestic consumers. The recent export permissions signify a pragmatic approach towards managing onion supplies and fostering sustainable trade relationships with key partners like the UAE and Bangladesh.

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