New Delhi. The Central Government has indefinitely banned the export of onions to maintain availability in the domestic market and control prices. Earlier, export was banned till March 31, 2024.

According to a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) late on Friday night, the ban on onion exports has been extended till further orders. Its objective is that there should be no shortage of onions in the country and the poor should have onions on their plate.

The central government had announced a ban on onion export on December 8 last year. However, the export of onion to friendly countries continues on a prior approval basis. In the Rabi season 2023, the production of onion in the country was estimated at 2.27 crore tonnes.

The government had sold onions as a subsidy

To provide relief to consumers from rising prices, the government had decided to sell onions on subsidy from the buffer stock in October 2023. This onion was sold in retail markets through government agencies at Rs 25 per kg.

According to Reuters, traders were expecting that the government would lift the ban on onion exports after March 31. The reason for this is that due to the implementation of the import ban, the price of onion at the local level has halved. Besides, fresh supply from the current season's crop has also started.

Exporters angry over increasing restrictions

A Mumbai-based export firm says the extension in the export ban is completely shocking and unnecessary. Exporters argue that despite the increase in onion supply and falling prices, restrictions on exports are being imposed.

Talking about Maharashtra, the wholesale price of onion has fallen to Rs 1,200 per quintal. It had reached Rs 4,500 per quintal in December. Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal , and the United Emirates largely depend on onions coming from India.