Exporters criticise onion ban

Updated February 21, 2020

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In FY19, the country’s onion production had increased 2pc year-on-year to 2.12m tonnes.
In FY19, the country’s onion production had increased 2pc year-on-year to 2.12m tonnes.

KARACHI: Exporters have criticised the government’s decision of banning onion exports till May 30, saying it will result in major financial losses due to the vegetable’s short life.

Expressing surprise over the move, they said the exporter community were not consulted with.

All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed in a letter to Commerce Advisr Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday said the country has surplus quantity of onion to ensure price stability in the market and a ban on its export would deprive from foreign exchange earnings.

He said onion exporters have already received advance payments from foreign buyers and after the sudden ban, they are unable to honor their commitment which would hit their credibility.

Ahmed claimed the onion exporters had procured sizable quantities for export from the growers as per orders from foreign buyers.

Current Sindh crop coupled with arrival of Balochistan’s produce shortly would create surplus in the markets which would definitely bring down prices but this would hurt the growers by depriving them of reasonable profit, he said.

According to him, the government should have given 10 days before imposing a ban on exports and it should have been implemented in different phases, as done in India recently.

Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Market New Super Highway President Haji Shahjehan said the government’s decision to ban exports of onion has sent wholesale prices down to Rs30 from Rs40 per kg while the retail rates are at unchanged at Rs60-70 per kg.

He said when wholesale price had touched Rs100 per kg in the last quarter of 2019 then the government did not impose any ban on exports and instead allowed imports from Afghanistan and Iran.

On the other hand, the current ban has been imposed when markets are facing a glut-like situation due to full availability of Sindh crop and soon to be harvested Balochistan’s produce.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020