The UAE is grappling with a substantial increase in onion prices following India’s recent export ban until March of the next year, aimed at stabilizing local prices. Retail industry executives in the UAE are now in pursuit of alternative sources to secure onions as prices experience a sixfold surge to meet growing demand.
Impact on Retail Prices
Ashok Tulsiani, the Group FMCG Director at Al Safeer, confirmed the noticeable impact on onion exports, resulting in a significant rise in retail prices, indicating an increase of “at least six times.”
Challenges and Potential Alternatives: Onion Prices
While considering Turkey, Iran, and China as potential alternatives, Tulsiani emphasized that Indian onions still reign supreme in terms of quantity, quality, and price, remaining the preferred choice for most customers.
India’s Export Policy Amendment
The surge in onion rates in New Delhi, reaching Rs70-80 per kg, prompted India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to amend the export policy, transitioning it “from free to prohibited till March 31, 2024.”
Ripple Effect on Neighboring Countries: Onion Prices
India, a key exporter of onions to neighboring Subcontinent and Gulf countries, has triggered a domino effect, leading to increased onion prices in those regions due to the export ban imposed by New Delhi.
Exploring Alternatives in UAE
Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner of Al Maya Group, highlighted the necessity of exploring alternative countries to meet the onion demand in the UAE. Egypt is being considered as another potential supplier, and Turkey emerges as an additional option to source onions for the UAE market.
“We are actively expanding our sourcing networks to guarantee a consistent onion supply for consumers in the UAE. Nevertheless, we are dedicated to maintaining market stability and meeting consumer demands,” Vachani added.