STO: No difficulty in purchasing onion from India

A basket of onions in shop in the market district of Male' City on December 10, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hafeez)

State Trading Organization (STO), the largest imported of food commodities in the Maldives, on Wednesday, assured that there was no difficulty in purchasing onion from India.

Maldives was absent from the list of countries India has granted special permits to export onion to as the South Asian mega power enforces a ban on the export of onions – in effect until March 31st.

Speaking with Sun regarding the matter, STO’s Spokesperson affirmed that there was no difficulty in purchasing onion from India, adding that the country was selling onion to the Maldives in line with the agreement executed previously.

“We are supplying to the extent required by the Maldivian market. There is no difficulty,” the official said.

India imposed the ban to discourage exports, in an effort to curb surging local prices.

The ban led to the price of onions in the Maldives skyrocketing.

Maldives is heavily reliant on India for the importation of essential food commodities, including onions.

The longstanding relations between Maldives and India have been significantly strained since the new administration took office.

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, who is maintaining close relations with China, has initiated efforts to cut down Maldives’ reliance on India. In this regard, the president, in January, revealed the execution of an agreement with Türkiye to import food and medication.

Back then, he said the government would collaboratively work with other nations to ensure Maldives is not reliant on one specific nation for staple foods.