In a move that would bring smiles thousands of onion farmers, Centre on Friday evening removed Minimum Export Price (MEP) on onions. MEP is the minimum price below which exporters can't export onions.
The step would help in arresting crash in wholesale onion prices, which has a detrimental effect on the prices that farmers get from selling their product. The notification issued by the director general of foreign trade of Union ministry of commerce, Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, said that MEP on all varieties of onions stands removed and can be exported without MEP.
A copy of the notification is in possession of TOI. Experts said that removal of MEP is the first step towards tackling the volatility in onion prices.
The Union government in its budget presented on Thursday had announced launching of Operation Greens scheme to address price fluctuations in onions, potato and tomato for benefit of farmers and consumers with budgetary allocation of Rs 500 crore for the scheme for the fiscal 2018-19.
For two years since December 24, 2015 there was no MEP of on onions.
However Centre re-imposed MEP on onions on November 23 last year at USD 850 per tonne. Thereafter on January 19, Centre had also reduced the MEP on onions to USD 700 per tonne.
The sources from the ministry of agriculture said, "During the recent meeting with the officials from the ministry of commerce, it had already been decided to remove the MEP on onions if the average wholesale onion prices dropped below Rs 2,000 per quintal. Now, the average wholesale onion prices have already dropped to Rs 1,500 per quintal. Hence, it had been immediately decided to remove the MEP of onions."