The government on Wednesday ruled out banning export of onion, saying the shooting prices of the edible is a "temporary" problem and rates may fall in two-and-a-half months with the arrival of the new crop.
"It's temporary (price rise). We are absolutely sure in two-and-a-half months, ample onion will be available and the prices will come down. So for the sake of two months, to take such a step, I don't think it's proper," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said at the Economic Editors' Conference.
Speculations about a possible ban on onion export arose after the Centre raised the benchmark price for shipping onion abroad by a steep USD 145 a tonne this month, the highest increase so far this fiscal, to curb the export volume.
India exported record 9.91 lakh tonnes of onions in the first half of this fiscal even though domestic prices did not fall significantly during this period.
Maintaining that reports about the new crop are "encouraging" even though floods in producing states of Karnataka and Maharshtra have damaged it to some extent, the minister said supply will increase in the coming weeks.
In the national capital, retail onion prices have touched as high as Rs 28 a kg. Wholesale rate in Delhi, too, rose to Rs 1,600 a quintal yesterday from Rs 830 in the start of September. Wholesale onion prices in trading hub of Nashik in Maharashtra also rose to Rs 1,450 a quintal as on November 2 from Rs 550 on September 1. PTI