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Ban on onion exports to impact farmers and traders during election year

Government’s onion export ban until March 31, 2024, is expected to impact farmers, particularly in Nashik district, which produces 70% of Maharashtra’s onions. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced the change from free export to prohibition, leading to protests in Nashik. Farmers, who are already facing challenges, blocked the Mumbai-Agra highway. The ban comes at a critical time as the new onion harvest is expected to enter the market from January. The sudden decision has raised concerns among traders and farmers, with the Nashik District Onion Traders Association expressing immediate impact on traders and foreseeing the repercussions on farmers in the coming months. The ban excludes traders already in advanced stages of export with government permission and those who have shipped onions before December 8. The government had earlier imposed a 40% export duty and set a minimum export price of $800 per metric tonne. The move is seen as an attempt to stabilize onion prices, a politically sensitive commodity in India. However, experts highlight the challenges faced by onion farmers, including the need to discard perishable produce when prices plummet and restrictions imposed during favorable market conditions.


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