By Jayantha Kovilagodage
Sri Lanka onion prices to rise after Indian export ban
Dec 21, 2010 (LBO) – Prices of onions and leeks in Sri Lanka could rise after India’s decision to suspend exports of onions, a trade official said.
Pettah Wholesale Traders’ Association vice chairman Nihal Seneviratne said 90 percent of Sri Lanka’s onion requirement is imported from India and imports from other origins would be more costly.
India on Monday suspended exports of onions, a key food staple, after prices of the vegetable soared, adding to the government’s inflation woes.
Sri Lanka might be forced to import from sources like Pakistan, China, Egypt and the Netherlands, Seneviratne told Vimasuma.com, our sister news website. “Pakistani onions are not as good as Indian onions and they spoil quickly,” he said.
“To ship onions from China takes about a month and requires use of a refrigerated container. Therefore, onion imports from these countries will invariably be more expensive than from India.”
Even if the government reduces a 10-rupee a kilo import tax on onions retail prices cannot be reduced under present conditions, Seneviratne said.
Stocks of onions in the Pettah wholesale market were running low and Indian exporters had even taken back cargoes of onion already loaded on ships, he said.
Prices of onions grown in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna peninsula as well as leeks are likely to rise.
Sri Lanka imports 4,000-5,000 tonnes of onions a week from India which supplies about 60 percent of the world requirements of onions.>> Full Story