The government on Saturday lifted the ban on onion exports but imposed a minimum export price (MEP) of USD 550 per tonne, amid ongoing Lok Sabha elections in the country.

Last night, the government imposed a 40 per cent duty on export of onions.

In August last year, India had imposed a 40 per cent export duty on onions up to December 31, 2023.

"The export policy of onions is amended from prohibited to free subject to MEP of USD 550 per metric ton with immediate effect and until further orders," the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

On December 8, 2023, the government banned export of onions from March 31 this year. In March, the export prohibition was extended till further orders.

In March, the Union Agriculture Ministry released the data for onion production.

As per the data, onion production in 2023-24 (First Advance Estimates) is expected to be around 254.73 lakh tonnes compared to around 302.08 lakh tonnes last year. This is due to a decrease of 34.31 lakh tonnes output in Maharashtra, 9.95 lakh tonnes in Karnataka, 3.54 lakh tonnes in Andhra Pradesh and 3.12 lakh tonnes in Rajasthan, the data showed.

Last month, in an official statement, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the government has allowed export of 99,150 tonnes of onion to six neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, UAE, Bhutan, Bahrain, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

Farmers in Maharashtra had protested against the export ban.

The Congress last month accused the Narendra Modi government of "callously neglecting" Maharashtra's onion farmers reeling due to the ban on onion exports and said that its manifesto promises a predictable import-export policy to prevent such catastrophic last-minute policies being imposed on farmers.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by staff)