Ban on export of onion cheers Pakistan while shocking BJP in Maharashtra


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Pakistan makes moolah from India’s ban of onion export

By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 10: Since India imposed a ban on export of onions, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced the farmers’ fury in Maharashtra. The BJP won just nine Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra.

The BJP leaders are blaming the decision of the Central government to impose onion export ban for losses in Maharashtra. “The onion export ban led to cascading effects of anti-BJP sentiments in Maharashtra. The decision to ban export of onions led to defeat of the BJP candidates in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra,” said a senior BJP functionary.

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India announced its decision to ban export of onion in December last year. The move was aimed to curb the rising prices in the retail markets.

During the December 2023 and March 2024 period, Pakistan counted the windfall gains from the ban on export of onions by India. During the period, Pakistan exported more than its average annual export.

Al Jazeera in a report said that Pakistan made whopping gains of $200 million by exporting additional onions after cashing in on opportunities created by India’s decision to ban the essential kitchen vegetable.

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The windfall gains for Pakistan came at a time when the Islamic nation is battling dipping forex reserves. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is once more bailing out Pakistan.

The Qatar-based broadcaster quoted Waheed Ahmed, patron-in-chief of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), saying tht Islamabad’s quick thinking led to the gains from the exports of onion after India imposed the ban.

India is the second largest exporter of onions. China is the leading exporter of onion. Maharashtra and Karnataka largely account for the productions of onions.

“…we managed to earn more than $200 million in revenue,” Ahmed was quoted saying on the gains made by Pakistan by exporting onions during December-March.

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Agriculture experts in India often slam government’s knee-jerk reactions in banning exports of onions when prices shoot up in the domestic markets. Price sensitive onion became an election issue in Maharashtra.

The Congress made gains in Maharashtra to emerge the largest party in the state. While the BJP won only nine Lok Sabha seats, the Congress bagged 13 parliamentary constituencies.

“Along with farmers’ anger, the BJP also paid a heavy price for not effectively dealing with the agitation for the Maratha reservation,” said a senior BJP functionary.

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