India Opens Onion Exports to UAE and Bangladesh Amidst Domestic Price Control Measures


New Delhi: In a strategic move to balance domestic onion supply with international commitments, the Indian government has sanctioned the export of 64,400 tonnes of onions through the National Cooperative Exports Limited (NCEL). This decision comes as part of the government’s efforts to manage onion availability and stabilize prices within the country.

The Commerce Ministry’s recent notification outlines the allocation of 50,000 tonnes to Bangladesh and 14,400 tonnes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), responsible for setting the nation’s import and export regulations, has specified a quarterly cap of 3,600 tonnes for shipments to the UAE.

Despite a standing ban on onion exports aimed at bolstering domestic stock, the government has made exceptions for these two nations, reflecting the diplomatic and trade relationships India maintains with them. The exports to Bangladesh will be organized by NCEL in close coordination with the Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure compliance with the established modalities.

The backdrop of this export permission is the government’s proactive measures taken last year, including a ban on onion exports effective until March 31, 2024, to ensure sufficient domestic supply and price regulation. Additionally, the government reduced the sale price of buffer onion stocks to ₹25 per kg in retail markets in October 2023, providing significant relief to consumers.

To further exert control over onion prices, the government had set a minimum export price (MEP) of $800 per tonne until December 31, 2023, and imposed a 40% export duty on onions until the same date. These steps were part of a broader strategy to manage the market effectively.


From April 1, 2023, to August 4, 2023, India exported 9.75 lakh tonnes of onions, with Bangladesh, Malaysia, and the UAE emerging as the top importers in terms of value. The government’s current export allowance reflects a careful consideration of international demand and the necessity to maintain stable prices at home.