The government has reduced the minimum export price (MEP) of onion by USD 150 per tonne with prices of the kitchen staple moderating.
The MEP for onion, the floor price below which exports are not allowed, has been reduced to USD 700 per tonne from USD 850 fixed in November, as per the commerce ministry.
Onion MEP was scrapped in December 2015 but brought back in November 2017 with an aim to check rising prices which were ruling at Rs 50-65 per kg in most cities.
The MEP of USD 850 was applicable until January 20.
“Export of onion…shall be permitted only on Letter of Credit (LC) subject to a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of USD 700” per tonne till February 20, the ministry said in a notification.
As per the Price Monitoring Cell of the Department of Consumer Affairs, retail onion prices are ruling at about Rs 40 per kilogram in most cities. However, the key vegetable ingredient was selling at Rs 51 in Delhi and Rs 46 in Delhi.
As prices of onion had started firming up in the last few months of 2017 on tight supplies, the government has asked state-run MMTC to import 2,000 tonnes of onion, while other agencies Nafed and SFAC to buy onions locally and supply in consuming areas.
Supplies had got exhausted as large quantity of exports were undertaken in the first four months of the current fiscal. The country exported 1.2 million tonnes in April-July of this fiscal, up by 56 per cent from the year-ago period.
About 40 per cent of the country’s total onion crop is produced in the kharif season and the rest during the rabi season. The kharif crop, however, cannot be stored.
Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat are the major onion producing states.