India Faces Onion Shortage Crisis With Prices Soaring Ahead Of Ramadan

(MENAFN- KNN India) Pune, Feb 20 (KNN) India is expected to grapple with a shortage in onion supply until the next kharif crop, spelling potential trouble for consumers and markets alike.

Industry representatives have sounded the alarm, indicating a stark departure from the current landscape characterised by surplus onions and stable prices, all amidst an export ban, reported ET.

The warning comes amidst projections of a 30 per cent decline in the rabi harvest, a crucial period for onion cultivation, potentially leading to a surge in onion prices, especially as the Ramadan festival approaches in early March.

This decrease in output can be attributed to the aftermath of erratic monsoons in 2023, which dealt a blow to agricultural regions, particularly Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The repercussions have been felt across various staple foods, including pulses, sugar, and onions, exacerbating the looming crisis.

In response to these concerns, a group of leading onion exporters has penned a letter to the Union government, urging caution in allowing onion exports without a robust mechanism to regulate export volumes.

Their apprehensions are not unfounded, as unchecked exports could aggravate domestic shortages, potentially driving prices to alarming levels.

Reports have surfaced suggesting that despite a ban on onion exports until March 2024, some exporters have found ways to circumvent the restrictions by mislabelling shipments as alternative commodities.

This revelation prompted a high-level meeting involving top cabinet ministers and officials to reassess the export situation.

The outcome of this meeting saw discussions revolving around the possibility of permitting controlled exports of up to 300,000 tonnes of onions.

In their letter to the government, onion exporters emphasised the need for a measured approach to exports.

Suggestions included the appointment of a canalising agency, the imposition of export duties, mandatory advance payments from buyers, and the issuance of no-objection certificates for small export quantities.

These measures, they argued, would strike a balance between maintaining India's presence in global markets and averting a domestic crisis.

With international prices ranging between USD 1000-1400 per tonne, Indian onions remain a cost-effective option at USD 350 per tonne.

However, with the domestic supply under strain, the market dynamics are poised for a shift, potentially impacting consumers across the nation.

(KNN Bureau)


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