The Centre on Friday said that it has procured 2.50 lakh tonne of onion as buffer stock for 2022-23. The onion buffer procurement for 2021-22 was two lakh tonnes. The increase in the stock is likely to come in use when the prices of onion go up in the retail market.
The Centre said the onions were procured from the current rabi harvest for the price stabilisation buffer. “The stocks have been procured by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) from farmers through the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in rabi onion growing States of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh,” the Food Ministry said in a release.
The stocks will be released through targeted open market sales, the Centre said and added that the States and government agencies could also use it for supplies through retail outlets during the lean months between August and December to moderate price rise. “Open market releases will be targeted towards States/cities where prices are increasing over the previous month and also in key mandis to augment the overall availability,” the release added.
According to the Centre, the price stabilisation buffer helps in providing remunerative prices to onion farmers and augmenting the availability of onions at affordable prices to the consumers. Rabi onion harvested during April-June accounts for 65% of India’s onion production. The production will be adequate to meet consumer’s demand till October-November. “It is therefore vital to successfully store onion in order ensure regular supply,” the Centre added.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has announced a “Grand Challenge” for the development of “Technologies for Primary Processing, Storage and Valorisation of Onions” by engaging with students, researchers and start-ups to develop a strategy for minimising post-harvest losses in onions. “There are four verticals of challenge, namely improvements in the designs of storage structures, pre-harvesting stage, primary processing and valorisation: value addition and utilisation of onion waste,” the release added.