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To boost prices, Centre declares 5 per cent export incentive for onions.

Date: 25-05-2018
Subject: To boost prices, Centre declares 5 per cent export incentive for onions
The central government has announced a 5 per cent incentive on onion exports to boost the root’s flagging prices, said Pasha Patel, chairman of the state government’s committee for agricultural prices. Patel said he had met Union Minister of commerce Suresh Prabhu to discuss the matter. “The minister has agreed to extend 5 per cent incentive for onion under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme,” Patel told The Indian Express on Thursday.

Onion prices have crashed in the wholesale markets of Maharashtra due to the bumper crop in the state. This year, Maharashtra reported plantation of over 3.5 lakh hectares of land, instead of the usual 3 lakh hectares. The increased arrival has subdued the price of onions, which are trading at Rs 6-7 per kg in mandis. The price drop comes after an eight month bull run for the bulb in wholesale markets. From June last year till early March, average prices of the bulb hovered between Rs 25 per kg and 30 per kg.

The price rise was mainly due to the drought in Karnataka, which had resulted in the failure of Karnataka’s rabi crop last year. Rabi or summer onion is planted late December and harvested post March-April. This onion is the only one which is amenable for storage and feeds the market from April till September before the arrival of kharif onions. Farmers in Maharashtra store these onions moisture proof storage structures called kanda chawls and offload them when prices are right.

Last year, due to the scarcity of onions, prices were high. The government took several steps to reduce the prices, such as importing at least 20,000 tonnes of onion while income tax officials raided the premises of seven traders who were allegedly storing onions. Also, the Minimum Export Price (MEP), which was kept at zero since December 2015, was raised to $850 per tonne. Between April 2017 and February 2018, the country had seen exports of 21,35,421.57 tonnes of the bulb — a record high.

Since March, onion prices have been on the wane as arrival has increased in wholesale markets. The government’s decision to free exports by removing the MEP slab in February had failed to boost the market sentiments. Similarly, the decision of Nafed to wade in the market and procure 25,000 tonnes of the bulb at Maharashtra’s Lasalgoan mandi had failed to firm up the prices. It is expected that the price of the bulb will increase in the days to come. Agri-commodity analyst Dipak Chavan also welcomed the move, saying this will be beneficial for domestic markets. “Our currency is at an all time low, so this incentive will have a positive effect on the markets and firm up the prices,” he said.

Source: indianexpress.com

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