Egypt bans onion exports for three months amid eye-watering prices

The Egyptian Cabinet announced on Wednesday a three-month ban on onion exports to regulate skyrocketing prices in local markets.

The price of onions has soared to EGP 35 per kilogram in some local markets across Egypt, up from EGP 27 last month and EGP 12 a year ago.

The increase has helped contribute to the annual headline urban consumer inflation rate of 37.4 percent in August, up from 36.5 percent a month earlier, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS)

The report revealed that the food and beverages segment recorded a monthly inflation rate of 2.2 percent in August.

However, the price of vegetables rose even faster, increasing 24.4 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent the previous month.

Egyptians consume around 15 kilograms of onions per year, according to recent comments by Alaa Khalil, the director of the Field Crops Research Institute at the Ministry of Agriculture, to the Happening in Egypt TV programme.

Egypt is self-sufficient in onion cultivation, with more than three million tons harvested annually, of which one million tons are exported, Khalil added.

Khalil explained that the increase in onion prices this year was due to intermediaries and some traders hoarding onions.