China could provide exports to ease India’s onion crisis: expert

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/1 19:33:39 Last Updated: 2019/12/2 0:58:40

Workers carry sacks of onions at a vegetable trading center in Yuanmou County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, April 4, 2018. The county in 2017 sold 508,000 tonnes of vegetables with the sales income reaching 1.52 billion yuan (about 241 million U.S. dollars) and yielded 150,000 tonnes of grape, jujube and other fruits generating one billion yuan (about 159 million U.S. dollars) of output value. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Onion prices in India have soared to record high levels in recent months, which has caused a crisis in the big onion consumption country, and now China could help ease the situation by facilitating onion exports to India, a Chinese expert said on Sunday.

"China has the capacity to export a large volume of onions to India to ease the 'onion crisis,' if the Indian government asks with sincerity," Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

China is a big onion export country and as the onion crops in south China can grow all year due to the warm weather in such areas as Southwest China's Yunnan Province, there's no problem producing onions, Li noted.

According to media reports, the normal price of onions is about 20 rupees ($0.28) per kilogram in India, but in recent months, heavy rainfall caused by monsoons led to a huge reduction of onion production in India. The price has reached as high as 100 rupees per kg in most states of the country, and 120-130 rupees per kg in major cities like Mumbai.

The shortage and the skyrocketing price of the staple food of India has caused a panic with "thieves opting to steal onions over cash and people having fist-fights over the kitchen staple," India Today reported on Thursday.

India used to be a big onion-exporting country, and it has dominated the world's red onion market due to its price advantage, according to Freshplaza, a global agricultural news provider.

But as the production has been reduced by the abnormal weather this year, the Indian government issued a ban on onion exports in September to stabilize the local onion prices. The wholesale and retail prices of onions normalized for a while but later went up again in November, according to India Today.

On November 9, Indian Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on his Twitter account that the Indian government will import 100,000 tons of onions for distribution from November 15-25. But he didn't say where the onions would come from.

"Even though there are still differences between China and India such as views on the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), I think it is possible for China to provide support to facilitate onion exports to India, if the Indian government would submit a request with sincerity," Li said.

Posted in: ECONOMY

blog comments powered by Disqus