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Govt suspends onion export for 15 days

Spiralling prices in the past couple of weeks have forced the Govt to take the step.
Hindustan Times | By Sutirtho Patranobis, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 03, 2007 02:23 AM IST

The government on Tuesday said no fresh NOCs allowing the export of onions would be issued for the next 15 days to stabilise soaring prices and ensure adequate stocks in domestic markets.

But exports against NOCs issued before Tuesday would continue. Most of these certificates would expire within the next week.

This step by the government would help contain onion prices, which were at Rs 24-28 a kg in the domestic retail market in the Capital, an increase of more than Rs 5 in just a week. On Monday, the wholesale prices of onion soared to Rs 2,125-2,375 per quintal in Delhi against Rs 1,450 a quintal last week.

“It is not a ban but could be called a temporary suspension. No fresh NOC permitting export would be issued till October 15,” Alok Ranjan, managing director of the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) told HT. The temporary ban comes a day after NAFED and 12 other canalising agencies increased the minimum export price by $50 a tonne.

Ranjan said though the production of onion in 2007 was 15 per cent better than last year, heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra affected the supply of onion to domestic markets. “The farmers in these states were apprehensive about crop damage and the rain delayed the supply,” Ranjan said.

However, the situation is expected to improve by the middle of October when prices are expected to stabilise after the entire kharif crop reaches the markets. He said that by November the situation would become normal.

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