Top officials from Lasalgaon — country's largest wholesale market for onion — said that this move will help stabilise market prices in addition to encouraging farmers to go in for more onion production.
Onion growers in Nashik — one of Maharashtra largest onion producing belts — have welcomed the decision by the office of the director general of foreign trade to extend the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) incentive on exports for a period of three months (till June 30) at the rate of 5% FOB.
Top officials from Lasalgaon — country’s largest wholesale market for onion — said that this move will help stabilise market prices in addition to encouraging farmers to go in for more onion production. The government of Maharashtra had already written to the finance minister Arun Jaitley urging him to increase the grant for onion export to 15% from the existing 5% to encourage export. The state government had also requested to extend the benefits of the scheme, which was ending on March 31, by three months. The Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) had also urged the government to extend the MEIS benefits at 5% by September 30.
The Centre had introduced the MEIS of 5% for export of ‘Onions Fresh or Chilled’ on August 26 last year, which was valid up to December 31.The ministry of commerce & industry and the office of the director general foreign trade had extended the scheme by March 31, following the demand from the exporters and the Lasalgaon APMC. The scheme was introduced to increase the onion export and stabilise the prices of onions in the market. The country has already crossed the 24 lakh tonne mark and is expected to cross the 30 lakh tonne mark this season. So far, the highest exports of onion have not gone beyond 18 lakh tonne and this time the exports from India are very healthy, thanks to a stability in policies.
The arrival of summer onions, about 24,000 quintals to 25,000 quintals a day, will begin this week onwards. On Wednesday, some 12,000 quintals of onions arrived at Lasalgaon APMC with the modal price at `580 per quintal. The summer onion can be stored and has a shelf life of six months. Usually every season, some 40 lakh tonne of onions are stored by farmers. This season, a production of some 83 lakh tonne is expected. The total production of onion during the year 2015-16 was around 202.14 lakh tonne .The third advanced estimate from the Union agriculture ministry pegs the output to rise 11% to 210 lakh tonne for this year.
Out of this, around 65% produce which comes in rabi season is partly used for domestic consumption as well as storage for further consumption in different parts of the country from June to November along with the fresh produce of early kharif and kharif onion. The major onion storing states include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh., Rajasthan and Bihar. Maharashtra produces 25-30% onion of the total production of the country and contributes about 80-85% in the total onion export.