Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday asked the Centre to increase the 40,000-metric tonne limit set for NAFED for procuring onions to 50,000 metric tonnes in the interest of cultivators and consumers in the state.
Pawar, who holds the finance portfolio, made the demand in a letter to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation of India (NAFED) is a central agency that aims to promote cooperative marketing of agricultural produce to benefit farmers.
Pawar said Maharashtra has witnessed good production of onions and the produce is available on a big scale presently across agricultural produce market committees in the state.
The current COVID-19 crisis, however, has affected the purchase of onions, the senior NCP leader added.
Pawar predicted that with favourable weather conditions, the onion production will be on the higher side during the rabi (winter) season.
Once the crop taken during the rabi season will hit markets, the prices will plunge, adversely affecting farmers, the finance minister said.
This needs to be avoided. The Centres decision to purchase onion through NAFED is worth welcoming, but reducing the procurement limit to 40,000 metric tonnes from 45,000 metric tonnes last year is unjust.
Hence, the procurement limit should be increased to 50,000 metric tonnes, a statement quoted Pawar as saying in the letter.