The Centre on Thursday banned the export of onions till March 2024 and also imposed additional limits on the amount of wheat that wholesalers can stock up, reported Mint.

The decisions are aimed at controlling the prices of the food staples and increasing their availability.

As per a notification by the Director General of Foreign Trade, permission for onion consignments to be exported will only be granted in cases where ships have already arrived at Indian ports for loading, or in cases where onion consignments have already been handed over to the customs department.

Such consignments can be exported till January 5, 2024.

The Centre has lowered the limit on wheat stocks to 1,000 tonnes, Sanjeev Chopra, secretary in the department of food and public distribution said. He said that the decision was taken to prevent artificial scarcity and curb hoarding, according to Mint.

In November, onion prices rose by 58% because of the rise in demand during the festive season and because of erratic rainfall. Wheat prices were also at their highest in eight months.

The Centre in August had imposed a 40% export duty on onions until December 31. Wheat exports have been banned since May 2022.

The announcement of the onion export ban had sparked protests in Maharashtra’s Nashik district where onion farmers blocked the Mumbai-Agra Expressway at three locations.