Too late to scrap minimum export price, say onion traders
New Delhi: Onion traders on Thursday said the government's decision to abolish minimum export price of the bulb has come "late" as growers have already suffered losses.
"Onion growers have already suffered losses due to high export price fixed for onion ... This decision should have come eight months back," Agriculture Produce Market Committee Chairman (in Pimpalgaon in Nashik) Dilip Rao Bankar told reporters.
The decision to end fixing a benchmark price below which onion could not be exported was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night.
The meeting was called after Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar wrote to Singh raising objections to export policies of agriculture commodities such as sugar, cotton, onion and dairy products.
Pimpalgaon and Lasalgaon in Nashik district of Maharashtra are considered as hub of onion cultivation in the country.
Surendra Budhi Raj, president of Onion Traders Association at Azadpur in Delhi expressed similar views. "The decision is very late as the onion growers have already suffered losses," Budhi Raj said.
Ajit Shah, president of Mumbai-based Agriculture Export Association, said though the decision has come late but it would still benefit the farmers.
"The onion export will increase by nearly 20 percent after removing the barrier of MEP from the outbound shipment of the bulb," Shah said.
He said scrapping minimum export price from onion would give a competitive edge to India against China and Pakistan in the international markets.
The government had yesterday decided to do away with fixing MEP for onion export to boost its exports and ensure better returns to growers who did not get high remunerative prices despite good production in 2011-12.
Earlier this year in January, the government had lowered minimum export price (MEP) of all varieties of onions, except Bangalore Rose onions and Krishnapuram onions to USD 150 per tonne.
India's onion production is estimated at 151.36 lakh tonnes in 2011-12 (July-June), which is higher than the previous year's output of 145.62 lakh tonnes.