South Asia

India lifts onion export ban after prices crash

An Indian labourer sits on the sacks of onion at a market in Ahmedabad on 21 December 2010
Image caption The price of onions rose dramatically over the last month

The Indian government has lifted its ban on onion exports after prices crashed on the domestic market.

The government introduced the ban in December after prices had reached unprecedented levels. A kilogram, which usually costs 20 rupees, went up to 85 rupees ($1.87; £1.20).

After the ban, prices dropped to 4 to 12 rupees, leading to protests by onion-growing farmers.

Onions are a basic ingredient in many Indian dishes.

Farmers protested against the blanket ban, some saying that onions were grown only for export and that their incomes were being affected.

High prices of essential commodities have previously sparked unrest and helped bring down the national government in 2004.

The price rise was blamed on unusually heavy rains in the onion-growing western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat and in southern states, as well as on hoarders and speculators.

More on this story