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As onion prices double,Govt suspends exports

The government swung into action,suspending onion exports and more than doubling the minimum export price

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 21, 2010 3:34:17 am

With onion prices skyrocketing in the past few days,the government today swung into action,suspending onion exports and more than doubling the minimum export price (MEP) for permits granted earlier to boost domestic supply and check further rise in prices.

“There will be voluntarily suspension of issuance of No Objection Certificates (NOCs) by NAFED,NCCF and other state trading enterprises. The NOCs which have already been issued till today will be effected only on $1,200 per tonne cost and freight (up from $525),” said a government statement. Coperative major NAFED,along with 12 other agencies,regulates onion exports in the country.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the Price Fixation Advisory Committee for fixing Minimum Export Price.

The government also announced that NAFED and NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India) will start retail sale of onion through their own outlets from tomorrow to check domestic prices.

The export ban is likely to be in place till the middle of January,when the government will take a fresh look after assessing the domestic situation.

Onion prices have jumped to Rs 60-70 per kg in retail markets in the Capital from Rs 35-40 a few days ago. The government had expected a price jump of about 20 per cent because of the recent rain in onion-producing states like Maharashtra and other southern states,but this spurt has been much beyond that. It’s only recently that food inflation slid back to single digits after a prolonged spell of double digit rise.

According to government statistics,the retail price of onion in Delhi stood at Rs 4,200 per quintal on Saturday as against Rs 2,000 per quintal two months ago.

According to government statistics,the onion output in 2009-10 stood at a little over 12 million tonnes,including the rabi and kharif output. Onion exports were allowed on the strength of the good produce expected. The government expected kharif onion production this year to be about 5 million metric tonnes against about 4.87 million tonnes last year.

Exports have also been buoyant,with about 11.5 lakh tonnes exported so far against 18.73 lakh tonnes in the entire last fiscal.

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