Onion prices set to rise in Punjab after Pak bans exports

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CHANDIGARH: Retail prices of onion are set to move further upward by Rs 5 to 7 per kg in Punjab following the ban imposed by Pakistan on onion exports to India via the Wagah-Attari land route, vegetable traders said today.

“Definitely, there is a going to be pressure on retail rates of onions after the ban imposed on export (of onions) by Pakistan… From tomorrow onward, prices will move up by Rs 5 to 7 a kg,” Amritsar-based vegetable trader Rajdeep Uppal said today.

Onions are currently being sold at Rs 45-50 per kg in markets of Chandigarh and several parts of Punjab, including Ludhiana and Amritsar, traders said.

Retail prices of onions had dipped from a peak of Rs 60-65 per kg to a level of Rs 40-45 per kg almost thirteen days back after onions from the neighbouring country entered the retail market.

Close to 7,000 MT of onions from Pakistan have arrived in India from across the Wagah border since last month. The majority of imported onions from Pakistan are being transported to various parts of Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Pakistan has imposed a complete ban on the export of onions to India via the Wagah-Attari land route to counter a sudden rise in prices in its own markets.

“The Pakistan government has banned the supply of onions to India, via the land route,” Customs Department (Amritsar) Deputy Commissioner R K Duggal said today, adding that no truck carrying onions was allowed to cross the border by the Pakistan authorities following the ban.

Vegetable traders have asked the Pakistan government to allow the supply of onions that were contracted before the ban was put in place.

“Almost 1,500 metric tonnes of onions is yet to be supplied to us, but the Pakistan government has not allowed local suppliers to fulfil their trade obligation,” rued Anil Mehra, another Amritsar-based vegetable merchant.

The sudden ban imposed on exports of onions has hit traders of both countries, with Indian importers claiming that Pakistan had not even allowed the supply of orders placed before the ban was announced.

According to customs officials, between 100-150 trucks laden with onions were not allowed to enter Indian territory by Pakistan authorities on Wednesday and asked to return.

To boost the supply of onions, the Centre had even abolished customs duty on imported onions in order to rein in spiralling prices of the vegetable, which finds a place in every Indian’s kitchen.
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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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