New Delhi, Bhopal: The inflated onion prices would not create a hole in the pockets of the consumers in the country this year, as there is a bumper yield of onions and the demand for it is also gaining pace.
At the same time, the Central government is going to create a record two lakh tonne buffer stock of onions so that during the rainy season, there is no shortage in its supply during the off-season and the prices could be kept under control.
Senior officials of the Central government say that the purpose of creating a record buffer stock of onions is to provide a fair price to the farmers for their crop as well as to take care of the consumers. Officials said that due to adequate availability of onions during the off-season, prices would remain under control.
The storage of onions would also be taken care of so that its buffer stock is not wasted. Earlier, the Central government used to procure onions from only three states, but this year it has planned to purchase onions from four more states.
The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), the nodal procurement agency of the Government of India, would also purchase onions this year from the four major producing states of south India - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. NAFED Managing Director, Sanjeev Kumar Chadha, said onions would be procured from seven states this year which includes Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, besides Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Chaddha told IANS that there are plans to create a buffer stock of two lakh tonne of onions this year, which is double than that produced in 2020. He said that such a large buffer stock of onions had never been achieved before.
The Central government had planned a buffer stock of one lakh tonne of onions. In a special conversation with IANS, Sanjeev Kumar Chadha, said,"NAFED has also increased its storage capacity by 50,000 tonne. He said the Central government's procurement of onions starts from April this year."
Asked about the inflation in onion prices, Chaddha said,"The price of onions were kept under control, too, last year and there is already preparation for this year so there would be no scope for the onion prices to go out of control." The retail price of onion in the country's capital Delhi and adjoining areas is currently at nearly Rs 50 per kg.
The NAFED Managing Director said with the arrival of onions in the mandis increasing, the price of onion is on decline and in the coming days, the price would come down further. Another senior official of the Central government said the government's procurement of onions would benefit the farmers, as there are no middleman involved and the price of their crop produce would go directly into the bank accounts of the farmers.
As a result, farmers would get a fair price and help in increasing their income. The official said the storage system of onions is being made efficient so that the crop could be kept safe for a longer period of time. Infrastructure in public-private partnerships is being prepared to solve the problem of onion storage in the country. 'MahaOnion' is India's first onion storage and marketing infrastructure developed under the Public-Private partnership (PPP) model.
According to the first advance production estimate of the current crop year 2020-21 in the production of horticultural crops released by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on Monday, onion production in the country may be 262.29 lakh tonne this year while onion production last year was 260.90 lakh tonne.