Nafed to procure 1 lakh tonnes of onions


National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (Nafed), which has been asked to procure 1 lakh tonnes of onions by the Centre, has already commenced procurement in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat in a move to stabilise onion prices, a release said on Sunday.

It has already purchased 25,000 tonnes of the bulb through farmer producer organisations, cooperative societies as well as through direct purchase centres.

Presently, the onion prices for fair average quality is ranging from ₹1,000-1,400 a quintal, depending on the location. The retail prices in major cities are ruling in the range of ₹20-30 a kg.

The Nafed procurement will have the dual benefit of stabilising domestic prices of onion as well as creating a buffer stock of 1 lakh tonnes which can be used during the lean production months. Similarly, the federation has already asked the State governments to inform it in advance how much quantity of the bulbs they would require during the lean period — which falls between August and November.

“This will facilitate timely evacuation of the stored onion in a planned manner to have a salutary effect on the retail prices, which tend to go up in the period late August to November. Further, this will help in cutting the storage losses,as long duration of storage entails higher storage loss to the extent of 35 per cent, which gets compounded due to adverse weather conditions, as reported last year,” the Nafed statement said.

According to a top Nafed official, the federation plans to buy 75,000 tonnes of the kitchen staple from farmers in Maharashtra, which is a major onion-growing State

.

To facilitate higher procurement, Nafed added an additional storage capacity of 30,000 tonnes in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It already has a storage space of 75,000 tonnes — both own and hired.

According to the official, the federation has been creating more storage space on cluster model at farm gate in the onion-growing regions since 2018. This has helped Nafed to enhance its procurement target, providing the market support to the onion growers.

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