The government admitted that benefit of onion exports was not reaching the farmers even though the price of the commodity had been brought under control after a sharp rise some months ago.
“Farmers are not seeing the benefit of exports. It is a matter of concern,” Minister of State of Commerce Jairam Ramesh told parliament.
He said the onion export is being carried out in a calibrated manner and whenever prices of the commodity shoot up, the commerce ministry intervenes to restrict the sale to other countries.
The minister said since October the government had, in a change of policy, restricted export of onions in the wake of the increase in prices.
The policy was reverted on November 14 after the prices in the wholesale market in the country moderated, touching as low as Rs 7.5 to Rs 8.5 per kg, he said.
At present, onion is sold in the retail market at Rs 12 to Rs 16 per kg, Jairam Ramesh said, adding that the price of the commodity is under continuous monitoring as the government is aware of the “political impact” it entails – a reminder of how the BJP had to bear the brunt in 1998.
Noting that it was a “larger issue” concerning the agriculture ministry, he said a policy was needed wherein benefits of onion exports could reach farmers, like in the case of milk.
Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said if benefits were not reaching the farmers, it was not because of the export policy.