Nepali consumers left teary-eyed this year due to soaring price of onions can expect some respite in the coming days as India is resuming the export of the kitchen staple from January 1.
The southern neighbour — the main source of onions for the local market — had imposed a ban on export of the commodity from September 14 export drop in its production. Since then, the local traders had increased the price of onions.
Currently onions are being sold in the retail market at the rate of around Rs 120 to Rs 130 per kg. Once the Indian onions begin to arrive in the market its price will go down gradually, said Khom Prasad Ghimire, a vegetable trader of Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market.
“After India banned onion export, retailers increased its price and it has remained same till date,” he said.
Even though India had not formally lifted the ban on export of onions, the vegetable was being imported legally through the customs. Nevertheless, due to lack of sufficient supply, the price of Indian onions had gone up in the local market. Moreover, as its price had also increased in India, the imports of onion from China had also gone up a bit.
Ghimire said that the situation will now change as the seasonal onions will start arriving in the market.
Amid this, Vegetable Crops Development Centre has started distributing onion sets to the farmers from this week.
According to the centre, around 1.5 million onion sets will be distributed to the farmers. In the first phase, distribution has started from Kathmandu valley and nearby districts. Gradually the onion sets will be distributed in other districts as well.
According to Agricultural Statistics Report 2018-19 published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, 239,024 tonnes of onions were produced in the country in the fiscal year 2017-18. However, there is no data of the local production after that.
Every year, Nepal imports onions worth more than Rs thee billion from India.
While the country also imports the commodity from China, it started importing onions from Namibia as well since last year.