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Govt bans onion export
Vibha Sharma/TNS

Averting bulb crisis
Averting bulb crisis

New Delhi, September 8
To prevent a repeat of last year’s onion crisis, the government today banned export of the bulb with immediate effect. It, however, lifted the four-year ban on wheat export and allowed the export of grain, including non-basmati rice, following record production and storage constraints.

The decision was taken at an Empowered Group of Ministers meeting headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

While the ban on onion export will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, foodgrain exports are subject to a quantitative restriction. Officials said that the export of wheat would be stopped once shipments reach 20 lakh tonne while non-basmati rice would be capped at 20.65 lakh tonne.

Export of wheat was banned in early 2007 to augment buffer stocks when output had fallen. The ban on non-basmati rice exports was lifted in July with a quantitative restriction of 10 lakh tonne but it was put on hold by the Delhi High Court following allegations of irregularities in quota allocation by some traders.

Even though food inflation is hitting double digit, the prices of rice and wheat have remained stable and the government is grappling with its storage following record foodgrain production of 241.56 MT. States, including Punjab, have been demanding lifting of the ban on foodgrain export.

The estimated total onion production for 2011-12 is pegged at 151.36 lakh tonne as against 145.62 lakh tonne last year. But due to rain in some parts of the country and delayed sowing of kharif crop, onion prices have been rising. Onions had sold for Rs 80 a kg and higher last year.





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