Maharashtra onions will find their way to Pakistan despite a ban by Islamabad on its export from India as the vegetable will travel to the neighbouring nation via Bangladesh through the West Bengal route, a state minister said today.
West Bengal market is the biggest exporter of onions, sourced from Maharashtra, to Bangladesh and European nations.
Pakistan imports onions from Bangladesh.
Maharashtra Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot is on six-day visit to West Bengal and Assam where he will promote the State’s agri products.
Khot started his tour today and is scheduled to meet Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) members in the two States.
“As West Bengal is the biggest importer of onions from Maharashtra and exports it to Bangladesh, eastern countries and Europe, farmers from the State will get benefit if we tie-up with new traders there,” Khot said here before leaving for the tour.
Maharashtra produced 67.67 lakh metric tonnes of onions during 2015-16 season, a rise of more than 20 lakh MT as compared to the previous year, he said. “More than 50 per cent onions exported to West Bengal is from Maharashtra and out of these Nashik contributes 80 per cent.”
He said due to a bumper production in the State this year, rates of onions have dropped in the local market and hence foreign markets are needed to sell them.
Asked whether a ban by Pakistan on import of Indian cotton and onions will affect the domestic market, Khot said, “Pakistan will purchase onions from Bangladesh. Our trade will not be affected even though Pakistan has banned import from India. We have another route through Bangladesh.”
He said Assam and West Bengal are not producers of onions, but the latter has a big port through which most of the produce reaches other nations.
“We will showcase our produce including grapes, pomegranate, mandarin orange, sweet orange, banana, cashew nut, cabbage, capsicum, Alphonso etc to traders and others in Assam and West Bengal,” Khot said.