To keep onion prices in check, Centre begins releasing stocks from 3 lakh metric tonnes buffer
The government has decided to commence the release of stocks from the onion buffer of 3.00 lakh metric tonnes created this year, in a move aimed at controlling excessive prices in certain parts of the country.
The government has decided to commence the release of stocks from the onion buffer of 3.00 lakh metric tonnes created this year, in a move aimed at controlling excessive prices in certain parts of the country. The Centre is maintaining a buffer of the crop under its Price Stabilisation Fund to keep volatility in onion prices in check. Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh finalised the modalities for the disposal in a meeting with the managing directors of cooperatives NAFED and NCCF on Thursday, according to an official statement. In the meeting, it was decided to release the onion stocks by targeting key markets in states or regions where retail prices are ruling above the all-India average and also where the rates of increase in prices over the previous month and year are above the threshold level.
Disposal through e-auction and retail sales on e-commerce platforms are also being explored, the consumer affairs ministry said. The quantity and pace of disposal will also be calibrated with the prices and availability situations with the objective of making onion available to consumers at affordable prices. “Apart from market disposal, it was also decided to offer to the states at discounted rates for sale through retail outlets of their consumer cooperatives and corporations,” it added. A total of 3.00 lakh metric tonnes of onion has been procured for the buffer this year, which could be enhanced further if situation demands. The two central nodal agencies, NAFED and NCCF, had procured 1.50 lakh metric tonnes each of rabi onion in June and July from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
This year, irradiation of onion had also been taken up on a pilot basis in collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) with the objective of minimising storage loss. About 1,000 MT had been irradiated and stored in controlled atmosphere storage. The annual buffers have been built by procuring onions from rabi harvest for release in major consumption centres during the lean season.
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The size of the onion buffer has been tripled in past four years, from 1.00 lakh metric tonne in 2020-21 to 3.00 lakh metric tonnes in 2023-24. The onion buffer has played a key role in ensuring availability of onion to the consumers at affordable prices and in maintaining price stability, the ministry added.