High onion MEP leaves traders in tears
An empowered group of ministers on food headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee last month decided to lift a ban and allow exports of onions at an MEP of $450 per tonne, but the the current global price is around $350 per tonne.
“With prices continuing to decline because of arrival of the late kharif crop, farmers are not being able to recover the cost of production,” said CB Holkar, managing director of the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation.
He said that farmers have already requested the commerce ministry to lower the MEP immediately so that farmers would at least recover their cost of production. Even agriculture minister Sharad Pawar recently asked the government to reduce onion MEP.
Wholesale onion prices dipped to around R400-500 per quintal on Monday at Nashik, the hub of the country’s onion trade. With the arrival of the late kharif crop, retail prices in most cities have declined to around R12-15 a kg, well off the highs of up to R80 a kg recorded in the last week of December.
The government had banned onion exports in end-December when domestic prices rose to R70-80 per kg in many cities due to disruption of supplies because of a lower kharif crop that was partially damaged because of unseasonal heavy rain. The commerce ministry was empowered to take
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