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India to buy 2 lakh tons of onions to create buffer stock of 5 lakh tons

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The Center announced on Sunday that it will purchase an additional 2 lakh tons of onions to maintain a total buffer stock of 5 lakh tons this year and use it for retail intervention. The announcement comes a day after the government imposed a 40% duty on the export of onions to improve local supply and control prices.

For the current fiscal year, the onion pad target has been kept at 3 lakh tons, which has already been procured. Currently, the same buffer stock is being phased out in targeted markets in some states to improve local availability and control rising prices.

According to official data, the average retail price of onion across India was 19% higher at Rs 29.73 per kg on Sunday, compared to Rs 25 per kg a year ago. In Delhi, the retail price of onion rose from Rs 28 per kg to Rs 37 per kg during the said period.

“In an unprecedented step, the government has increased the quantity of onion buffer to 5 lakh tonnes this year, having met the initial supply target of 3 lakh tonnes,” the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said in a statement. communicated.

The National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) have been tasked to purchase one lakh tonnes each to meet the target of additional supply alongside the calibrated removal of inventory purchased in major consumer centers, it said.

Buffer stock is maintained under the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) to meet any requirements if rates rise significantly during the lean season. The government had maintained a buffer onion of 2.51 lakh tons in the financial year 2022-23.

Regarding the elimination of onion from the buffer stock, the ministry said it has already started in key target markets of states and union territories where retail prices are above the average for the whole of India and/or are significantly higher than the previous month.

“As of today, around 1,400 tonnes of buffer zone onions have been shipped to targeted markets and are continuously being released to increase availability,” he said.

Apart from release in major markets, onions from the pad are also being made available to retail consumers at a subsidized rate of Rs 25 per kg through retail outlets and NCCF mobile vans from August 21 on key markets.

“Onion retailing will be suitably improved in the coming days by involving other agencies and e-commerce platforms,” ​​according to the ministry.

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