In an unprecedented move the Government has gone in for a sharp increase in the quantity of its buffer stock of onions to 5 lakh metric tonnes this year, after achieving the initial procurement target of 3 lakh metric tonnes and started rushing the commodity to markets where the prices are rising.
Apart from releasing in major markets, onions from the buffer are also being made available to retail consumers at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per kg through retail outlets and mobile vans of NCCF from today (21st August). The quantity of onions being sold in the retail market at affordable prices will be suitably enhanced in the coming days by involving other agencies and e-commerce platforms, the Department of Consumer Affairs said in a statement.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has directed government procurement agencies NCCF and NAFED to buy another 1 lakh tonnes of onion each to achieve the additional procurement target alongside calibrated disposal of the procured stocks in major consumption centres.
“Disposal of onions from the buffer has commenced, targeting major markets in States and UTs where retail prices are above the all-India average or are significantly higher than the previous month. As on date, about 1,400 MT of onions from the buffer has been dispatched to the targeted markets and are being continuously released to augment the availability,” according to an official statement.
The government had last week announced an increase in the export duty on onions to ensure greater availability in the domestic market and cool down prices.
The multipronged measures taken by the Government like higher procurement for the buffer stock, targeted release of stocks and imposition of export duty will benefit the farmers and consumers by assuring remunerative prices to the onion farmers while ensuring continuous availability to the consumers at affordable prices, the official statement explained.