To prevent onion prices from soaring, the Centre on Tuesday asked the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) to open retail outlets for selling it at Rs. 20 a kg. States have also been asked to initiate similar steps for market intervention.

Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas issued the orders after a review meeting. The total onion production for 2011-12 is estimated at 151.36 lakh tonnes, against last year's 145.62 lakh tonnes.

However, the prices have shown a rising trend with the average retail rate touching Rs. 25 a kg due to delayed sowing in some States. In some places, floods have threatened the crop, affecting the quality.

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