The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) is well on track to meet its target of procuring onions from Nashik for the Centre’s buffer stock. According to some senior officials from the federation, it is likely to complete the purchases during the next fortnight.
The agency has procured around 1.4 lakh tonne of the 2 lakh tonnes target for the buffer stock from Maharashtra and Gujarat. NAFED is supposed to procure some 2 lakh tonnes of onion as the buffer stock at the prevailing market rate, under the Price Stabilisation Fund.
Yogesh Thorat, MD, Maharashtra Farmer Producer Company (MahaFPC) – a federation representing nearly 303 farmer producer companies (FPCs) in the state, said the agencies had been facing quality concerns as the same has been deteriorating due to weather conditions. Maha FPC has purchased round 31,000 tonnes so far this year.
Last year, NAFED procured about 1 lakh tonnes of onion, of which 75,000 tonnes were procured from Maharashtra. The Government of India maintains buffer stocks of bulb onion to make appropriate price stabilising market interventions.
Onions from buffer stocks are released in a calibrated manner through retail intervention to retail agencies/states/UTs and for open market sale during the lean season or period to contain prices and availability.
Narendra Wadhavane, secretary, Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), said, “NAFED has been purchasing around 650-700 quintals on a daily basis. Farmers are bringing out their stored onion stock because of the fear of deterioration in quality.”
It has been raining heavily for the last one week and the percentage of rotting has been more this time, although it cannot be quantified at this point, he said. “Because of the good rainfall, the early kharif onion arrivals could begin in September. By October, arrivals could be in full swing,” said Wadhvane. Early this week, around 11,250 quintals of onion arrived in Lasalgaon to be sold at an average price of Rs 1750 per quintal. Market officials pointed out that NAFED had been making purchases both within the market environs and also through farmer producer companies to be able to meet the targets quickly.