The Centre has begun procuring onions from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, to create a buffer stock to tackle any sharp rise in prices later during the year through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED).
NAFED has set a target of procuring around 250,000 tonnes of onions this year, the bulk of which will be procured from Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, NAFED will be procuring onion through wholesale markets in the Lasalgaon, Pimpalgaon, Pune agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) and neighbouring wholesale markets.
Around 90% of the onion will be purchased at the prevailing market price from the wholesale markets and farmers producers’ companies (FPCs) in and remaining 10% from and other onion growing states.
Last year, NAFED had procured nearly 200,000 tonnes from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. NAFED has already procured 5,149 quintals in a couple of days.
According to Lasalgaon APMC, there has been a rise of Rs 200 per quintal in the average wholesale onion prices, from Rs 900 per quintal last week to Rs 1,100 per quintal this week. Market arrivals have been in the range of 12,000 quintals to 15,000 quintals in Lasalgaon and neighbouring markets as well.
The arrival of fresh summer onions has increased in most mandis resulting in a sharp drop in prices in some markets. The price trend of average wholesale onion prices is expected to be downward in April and May.
India’s onion production is estimated to increase by 16.81 % to 31.12 million tonnes (mt) in the crop year beginning July 2022 on likely increase in acreage. The country had harvested 26.64 mt of onion in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June). According to first advance estimates shared by the agriculture ministry, the area sown for onion cultivation is estimated to be higher at 1.91 million hectares in the 2022-23 crop year from 1.62 million hectares in 2021-22.