Karnataka is waiting for the central government's nod to lift the export ban on Bangalore Rose onion to protect small and marginal growers in the state from suffering huge losses, an official said on Tuesday.
"The central government has assured us that it would reconsider the ban on exporting Bangalore Rose onion in the interests of its growers, as the special variety is grown only for export as it has no domestic market," state Horticulture Director B. Venkatesh told IANS here.
Stung by the export ban on all varieties of bulbs, including Bangalore Rose onion by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade on September 14, state Horticulture Minister Narayan Gowda on Monday wrote to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to lift the ban at the earliest, as its kharif crop is being harvested for exporting from October.
"We are hopeful of the ban being lifted soon so that growers can honour their export commitments. The commerce ministry exempted Bangalore Rose onion from the export ban last year after we explained to its officials that the variety is grown only for exporting to markets in South East Asia," asserted Venkatesh.
Grown in about 500 hectares of farmland in Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts in the state's southeast region, the pungent Rose onion is much sought after in Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for spicy food.
"As we had good rains this season, about 10,000 tonnes of Rose onion is expected to be harvested for exporting at a competitive price as the variety is not grown in other states or countries," pointed out Venkatesh.
The export of onions was banned to curb its price from soaring in October-November during the festival season due to shortage arising out of heavy rains damaging the kharif crop and to ensure adequate supply to meet the domestic demand.
"In fact, we have asked for a separate HS (Harmonised System) code for Rose onion as it has a unique GI (Geographical Indication) and brand equity," noted Venkatesh.
Though the central government had assigned the HS code for Bangalore Rose onion in 2000-01, it was subsequently withdrawn.
A delegation of Rose onion growers led by the BJP's Lok Sabha member from Kolar S. Muniswamy urged Union Chemical and Fertilisers Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who hails from the southern state, to prevail upon the central government for revoking the ban to prevent the perishable crop from being damaged.
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