Onions imported into the Maldives. Dhauru Photo/Ibrahim Ifaz

Maldives will receive onions under special quota, insists India

The India-Maldives trade agreement sets quotas based on Maldivian needs and removes any potential future restrictions on these crucial items.

21 February 2024

By Shahudha Mohamed

India has said that Maldives will continue to receive onions under the special trade agreement made between the two countries, despite reports that Maldives is not in the latest country list to export onions.

India, the world's second largest onion exporter, temporarily suspended onion exports in December due to rising prices and difficulties in supply.

However, even in that case, India continued to supply onions to Maldives under the trade agreement. In December, the Economic Ministry said:

  • India has temporarily suspended onion exports to some countries due to their agricultural issues, but the country has not taken any measures to make it difficult for the Maldivian people to get onions

  • The ministry has been assured that onions will be imported without any difficulties

  • The government urged traders not to sell onions at higher prices as some traders have increased the price of onions in the market

Onions are still being supplied to Maldives under the agreement between India and Maldives, an Indian High Commission official confirmed to Atoll Times on Wednesday.

As part of the trade agreement between Maldives and India, India ensures a reliable supply of nine essential goods to the Maldives, including rice, sugar, and onions. This agreement sets quotas based on Maldivian needs and removes any potential future restrictions on these crucial items. This guarantees stable access to these necessary products for the Maldivian people.

STO is still importing onions from India, an STO official confirmed with Atoll Times as well. He added that:

  • There is no difficulty in getting onions. Maldives will import onions for the month of Ramadan as well, from India 

  • He also assured that onion prices will not rise during Ramadan

Onion was priced at MVR 25 per kg in the market on Tuesday. 

After a three-month suspension of onion exports, the Indian government has decided to resume exports to certain countries with a limit.

Some Indian newspapers have reported in recent days that the countries include:

  • Bangladesh

  • Sri Lanka

  • Mauritius

  • Bahrain

  • Bhutan

  • Nepal

Presumably, the rumours that India stopped importing onions to Maldives were spread because Maldives was not on the list.

Relations between India and Maldives have deteriorated due to the closer relations with China since the new government took office last November.