PETALING JAYA: India’s latest onion export ban will not affect domestic supply because importers have shifted their attention elsewhere, Mydin hypermarket managing director Ameer Ali Mydin said.
Ameer said local importers have turned to alternative sources, such as China, over the past few months, following India’s decision to increase its onion export price.
“Importers like us go to alternative sources. We have been reducing our onion imports from India for the past two to three months.
“Currently, all of the onions we import are from China.
“India is a very big onion exporter but this has been going on for more than six months. The impact on the pricing will not be obvious,” Ameer told FMT.
Yesterday, Reuters reported that India had ceased onion exports until March 31 next year.
Previously, New Delhi had set its export price to US$800 a tonne to discourage exports and curb surging local prices, ahead of parliamentary elections next year.
Ameer also said China could fulfil Malaysian demand for onions until the ban is lifted, adding that there is little difference in quality.
He also said the market price of onions is stable at RM3.59 a kg, dispelling any notions of an increase as “unlikely”.
Meanwhile, agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu gave an assurance that the supply of onions will not be affected as the ministry had already made preparations.
“I have not received any official confirmation but I assure you there will be no onion shortage in the country.
“We are also importing from China, Thailand, Pakistan as well as several other countries,” he said when met after the 2023 state Amanah convention in Melaka today.
Mohamad said the issue now is whether there will be a price increase but this matter is under the purview of the domestic trade and cost of living ministry.
India is the largest onion exporter to Malaysia, holding a 36% share of the market, followed by China (20%) and Thailand (7%).