National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has procured 95,000 tonnes of onion directly from farmers at prevailing rates for creating a buffer stock on behalf of the government. Onions grown in the Rabi (winter) crop can be stored and have a long shelf life when compared to the one grown in the Kharif season.
Last year, NAFED had purchased a total of 57,000 tonnes of onion from the 2018-19 Rabi (winter) crop under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF). The target this time is to buy 1 lakh tonnes of key kitchen staple from the major producing states.
“We have procured 95,000 tonnes of onion so far for the buffer stock. We will complete the target of 1 lakh tonne in the next 2-3 days,” NAFED Additional Managing Director S K Singh told PTI. The Rabi onions have been procured largely from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat through farmers producers organisation (FPO) and cooperative societies as well direct purchase centres, he said.
Singh also said, “Onions have been procured at an average loose price of Rs 10-11 per kg.” The cooperative has added its own operational storage capacity for onions in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh by 30,000 tonne, with the support of state governments.
Last month, NAFED had approached state governments to send their requirements of lean months in advance to ensure timely evacuation of the stored onion in a planned manner to have a salutary effect on retail prices, which tend to go up in the period late August to November.
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.
Besides onion, NAFED is procuring pulses for buffer stock.