India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has not yet issued any notification on lifting of the ban on general export of onion.
All that it did on Feb 6 was to notify allowing export of 10,000 tonnes of Krishnapuram (Andhra Pradesh) variety of onion until March 31 only from Chennai airport.
In the meantime, the decision of the Indian government to withdraw the ban on all varieties of onion has prompted exporters to begin booking onions in large quantity, resulting in the rise in prices of the kitchen staple by about 25 per cent in Lasalgaon market, Asia's biggest wholesale market, in Maharashtra.
The ban on onion export was taken about six months ago when wholsesale and retail prices escalated for kharif crop damage caused by floods in major growing states.
The lifting of the ban on onion would be effective only after the DGFT issues a notification in this regard.
Despite huge arrivals of late kharif crop and early rabi crop onion, prices have shot up since Thursday last week just because of the increased pressure on demand from exporters on anticipation of the DGFT notification allowing the lifting of the export ban, according to sources in Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Lasalgaon.
In Lasalgaon, onion price shot up to Rs 21.50 a kg from Rs 16.50 on Thursday the previous day. Some 1,500 tonnes of onion arrived in Lasalgaon on Thursday after 1,000 tonnes had come a day earlier.
Trade sources believe that the decision on lifting the export ban was taken at a meeting of Group of Ministers on Wednesday last week. The meeting also discussed reducing the minimum export price (MEP) of $850 a tonne.
Rabi season crop of onion is set to reach Lasalgaon in full swing in another ten days, which may again see onion prices decline further.
But what is bothering the exporters is the stock limit of five tonnes for retailers and 25 tonnes for wholesalers imposed by the Maharashtra government in December.