UAE – India has reopened its onion export channels to the UAE following a three-month hiatus, promising relief to consumers grappling with inflated prices.

The move comes after India’s ban on onion exports in December 2023, triggered by domestic price surges amid climate change-related challenges.

India’s Ministry of Commerce announced the resumption, permitting exports of 14,400 tonnes of onions to the UAE through the National Cooperative Exports Ltd (NCEL), along with allocations for Bangladesh.

This decision is poised to significantly impact the UAE market, where onion prices surged from Dh1.5-Dh2 per kg to as high as Dh7-Dh8 per kg during the ban, prompting consumers to explore alternative sourcing from countries like Turkey, Iran, and China.

Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring and Follow-up Sector at the Ministry of Economy confirmed ongoing dialogues with the Indian government to address supply challenges.

“We have direct communication with them in case we have any challenge in supplies, especially from India,” Al Shamsi emphasized during a media briefing.

The strategic importance of this development is underscored by the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) signed between the UAE and India, encompassing various sectors including food items.

Dr. Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and Managing Director of Adil Group, expressed optimism about the forthcoming imports, predicting a potential 20% reduction in local onion prices once exports commence.

“Exports will start soon. Prices could go down by up to 20% locally once the imports begin,” Dr. Datar affirmed.

Echoing this sentiment, Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner of Al Maya Group, highlighted the multifaceted benefits for consumers, emphasizing both affordability and quality improvements.

“The influx of Indian onions into the UAE market is expected to alleviate pricing pressures, offering consumers a reprieve from inflated costs,” Vachani remarked, underlining the significance of this development in fostering enduring trade partnerships and driving economic growth.

Abubakker TP, Director for the Abu Dhabi and Al Dhafra region at Lulu Group, acknowledged the interim reliance on onion imports from Turkey and Sudan, affirming the imminent price correction as India lifts its export ban.

“India is in the process of lifting the ban, so definitely prices will drop locally,” Abubakker TP affirmed, reflecting the widespread anticipation for improved market conditions.

As consumers eagerly anticipate the resumption of Indian onion imports, this development not only addresses immediate pricing concerns but also highlights the resilience and adaptability of global supply chains in navigating complex market dynamics.

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