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Indonesia requests 900,000 tonnes of onions from India amid export ban

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NEW DELHI : Indonesia has requested 900,000 tonnes of onions from India amidst an export ban, emphasising the significance of Indonesia as India’s largest trade partner in ASEAN.

This plea comes in response to India’s measures, including a 40 per cent export tax and a minimum export price of USD 800 per tonne, implemented to stabilize domestic onion supply and prices.

Despite these efforts, India imposed a complete export ban in December 2023, effective until the end of the financial year 2023-24, due to high prices caused by a crop shortfall.

India, contributing about a fourth of the global onion output, is the largest exporter after the Netherlands and Mexico. In the current fiscal year (April-October), India exported 1.4 million tonnes of onions, with 36,146 tonnes sent to Indonesia.

However, the Indonesian embassy in New Delhi reported importing only 79,000 tonnes out of a total onion import of 194,107 tonnes in 2023.

Exporters faced challenges with detained containers at the port gate. Production challenges, including erratic rains and dry spells, significantly impacted onion output in key states like Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The government’s preliminary assessment indicates a lower onion production of 3 million tonnes and 1.5 million tonnes in the 2023-24 kharif and late kharif seasons, respectively, compared to the previous year.

Onion prices in India have surged, with the average retail price reaching Rs 41.12 per kg, a 49.6 per cent increase from the previous year. The absence of exporters from markets due to the ban has further depressed onion prices, with expectations of continued declines in the coming days.

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