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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Govt raises onion MEP by $145/ton

The Centre has raised the benchmark price for exporting onion by $145 a tonne for this month, the highest increase so far this fiscal, to augment domestic supply and contain price rise"The minimum export price has been raised by $145 to an avearge of $445-450 a tonne for November. The decision to raise the MEP sharply has been taken to discourage massive export, as prices in domestic markets have spiralled upward," said a senior official with agri co-operative Nafed, which regulates onion export.India has exported 9.91 lakh tonnes of onion in the first half of this fiscal, compared with 9.15 lakh tonnes a year earlier. An official source said the country may surpass last year's record of 17.60 lakh tonnes, if onion export continues at this pace.Nafed, which fixes onion MEP every month in consultation with 12 other agencies, had raised it by $85 to an average of 300-305 a tonne last month to curb shipments overseas, as rates have nearly doubled in major cities.Onion prices in the retail market of the national capital touched as high as Rs 28 a kg. Wholesale rate in Delhi, too, rose sharply to Rs 1,600 a quintal from Rs 830 in the start of September. Wholesale onion prices in trading hub of Nashik in Maharashtra rose to Rs 1,450 a quintal yesterday from Rs 550 on September 1.le traders and retailers have attributed the rise in rates to dip in availability following floods in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, state-owned National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation has blamed speculators and retailers, saying the supply crunch is not as dramatic as the surge in prices.Onion from the southern part of the country is exported mainly to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore, while that from Nasik is sent mostly to Gulf countries.

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