Govt slashes onion export price to USD 275 per tonne

New Delhi: The government has slashed the minimum export price (MEP) of onion for the third time this month to USD 275 per tonne from the earlier price of USD 350 per tonne.

"MEP of onions other than Bangalore Rose Onions and Krishnapuram onions will be USD 275 per metric tonne FOB (freight-on-board)," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a notification.

On March 1, the MEP was lowered to USD 450 per tonne from USD 600 a tonne and again on March 8, it was reduced to USD 350 a tonne.

Last month, the government had lifted ban on onion exports after farmers` protests on crashing of domestic prices. It, however, capped the MEP at a higher level of USD 600 per tonne as a precautionary measure to control retail prices, which had shot up to Rs 70-80 per kg in December last year.

However, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had subsequently indicated that the MEP of USD 600 per tonne was almost double the prevailing rate in international markets, rendering the onion exports uncompetitive.

The MEP for Bangalore Rose and Krishnapuram onions was USD 1,400 per tonne.

The government had imposed a ban on export of the kitchen staple after its prices rocketed and touched as high as Rs 80-85 per kg.

Onion production in the country is likely to be around 10.5 million tonnes in 2010-11, down from 12 million tonnes last year.