New Delhi [India], July 15 (ANI): Beating past records, the Central government has procured 2.50 lakh tonnes of onion as a buffer for the 2022-23 season. The buffer size of onions for the current year is 0.50 lakh tons higher than the 2.0 lakh tons procured during 2021-22.
The onions that were procured from the current rabi harvest season are meant for price stabilization in case the rates go up significantly during the lean supply season.
Rabi onion harvested during April - June accounts for 65 per cent of India's onion production and meets the consumer's demand till Kharif crop is harvested in October-November.
"The stocks have been procured by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) from farmers through the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in rabi onion growing states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh," a Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution statement said.
The procured stocks will be released through targeted open market sales and also to states and Union territories and government agencies for supplies through retail outlets during the lean supply season. Open market releases will be targeted towards states/cities where prices increase over the previous month and also in key mandis to augment the overall availability of the staple vegetable.
"The price stabilization buffer serves the twin objectives of providing remunerative prices to onion farmers and augmenting the availability of onions at affordable prices to the consumers. Onion is a semi-perishable vegetable and post-harvest losses due to physiological weight loss, rotting, sprouting, etc. are estimated to be substantial," the statement added.
Further, to address the post-harvest losses of onions including loss on account of sub-optimal storage and processing, the Department of Consumer Affairs has announced a challenge for the development of "Technologies for Primary Processing, Storage and Valorisation of Onions". It is engaging with students, researchers, and start-ups to develop a strategy for minimizing post-harvest losses in onions, the statement added.
All the Agriculture Universities and Central Universities have been informed by the department about the challenge with the request to participate in the challenge for ensuring maximum participation. (ANI)