Export duty on onions: Union Minister Bharti Pawar says prices will not crash


Amid a protest by farmers and traders against the imposition of 40 per cent export duty on onions by the Centre, Union Minister Bharti Pawar on Monday said prices of the kitchen staple will not crash.

Meanwhile, Under the aegis of the farmers union Shetkari Saghtana, onion farmers staged a ‘rasta roko’ agitation in Maharashtra’s Nashik district on Monday against the Central government’s decision to impose a 40 per cent export duty on the kitchen staple.

Amid the protests, one of the representatives of the Union said, “Farmers die by suicide. Why do they do that? The onion crops are damaged due to rain and that is why the prices have increased. The Government should take note of the farmers’ needs and stop the farmers’ suicides.”

The protest was organized in the Yeola area of the Nashik district earlier today.

The government on Saturday imposed a 40 per cent duty on the export of onions to check price rise and improve supplies in the domestic market till December 31, 2023.

The government has taken the (export duty) decision to balance demand and supply and NAFED has been directed to procure additional two lakh tonnes of onion as buffer stock, Pawar said.

Union Minister Bharti Pawar said the opposition was attacking the government over the rise in prices of onions and the move was to ensure there is availability of the crop in the domestic market.

She said Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have ensured the buffer stock is increased to five lakh tonnes so that people get relief from high prices.

She claimed the entry of NAFED to procure the crop has benefitted farmers who are getting remunerative prices.

“Farmers have understood this but some sections are trying to create misunderstanding among the public,” Pawar, who is Union Minister of State for Health and BJP MP from Dindori, said in an apparent swipe at the opposition parties.

Earlier in the day, traders decided to close onion auctions indefinitely in all the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in the district, including at Lasalgaon, which is the largest wholesale onion market in India.

The government on Monday said the decision to impose a 40 per cent export duty on onions was not a “premature” but a timely move to boost domestic supply and control retail prices.

The statement comes amid farmers’ protest at several places in Nashik district in Maharashtra against the 40 per cent duty imposed on onion exports. Traders are also against the imposition of the duty.

“It is not a premature decision to impose export duty on onion. It is a timely decision taken to increase the domestic availability and check prices,” Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told PTI.

Till the situation demands, Singh said the government will intervene with release of buffer onions in both the wholesale and retails markets in select states.

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Updated: 21 Aug 2023, 11:20 PM IST

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