Onion farmers hold stocks in hope of lifting of export ban

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Nashik, Feb 14 (PTI) With prices of onion crashing toRs 4-10 a kg in the wholesale, farmers in the main producingregion Nashik in Maharashtra are holding their stocks on hopesof lifting of export ban on the kitchen staple to earnhandsome returns.

Onion farmers of Nashik, who have been blocking roadsand staging sit-ins for the past 10 days following a drasticdownturn in the price of the important veggie, have almosthalved the supply of onions to the APMC (Agriculture ProduceMarket Committee) market today, official sources said.

Against normal supply of 140-150 tonnes, the arrivaltoday in main markets of Lasalgaon, Pimpalgaon and Manmad inNashik have come down to almost half, R.K.Gupta, Director,NHRDF (National Horticulture Research Development Foundation),an arm of Nafed which monitors onion price daily, told PTI.

"It seems onion farmers are holding their stocks inanticipation of total opening up of export of the vegetableshortly," Gupta said.

Following farmers agitation, Maharashtra Chief MinisterPrithviraj Chavan and Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawarhave urged the Centre to completely lift the export ban ofonions.

"The Government is giving its attention at the highestlevel, to what has been said by the Maharashtra Chief Ministerand Union Agriculture Minister (Sharad Pawar)," Commerce andIndustry Minister Anand Sharma had said in Delhi last week.

The government had prohibited transhipment of onionabroad in December last year to rein in prices of the bulb inthe domestic market which had soared to Rs 70-85 a kg in theretail in the national capital and other cities.

In a crucial meeting of a ministerial panel on Food inDelhi last week, the government had allowed export of twovarieties of onions--Bangalore Rose onions and Krishnapuram.

This fuelled hope among growers of a complete lifting ofthe export ban on onions.

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