Govt orders cooperatives Nafed, NCCF to sell onion at Rs 20/kg

Direction to this effect was given by Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas after a meeting to review onion prices here last evening, an official statement said today.

While agri-cooperative Nafed has six outlets in Delhi, the NCCF (National Consumer Cooperative Federation) has 15 such centres.

Onion prices have risen to Rs 25 a kg in retail in Delhi and NCR, from Rs 20 a kg around August 15.

Onion prices, which contributed to inflation moving to double digit number after a gap of five months at 10.05 per cent for the week ended August 20, have been showing a rising trend across the country due to delayed monsoon in key producing regions of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

R P Gupta, Director of NHRDF (National Horticultural Research Development Foundation, set up by Nafed) said sowing of onion in major producing regions of Maharashtra and Gujarat have got delayed by almost a month due to late arrival of monsoon.

Maharashtra and Gujarat have now received good rains in late August which has helped sowing of late kharif onions, he had said.

During yesterday's meeting, the state governments were urged upon to take similar market intervention steps through their agencies, the statement added.

Onion production for 2011-12 is estimated at 151.36 lakh tonnes which will be higher than the last year’s production of 145.62 lakh tonnes.

But, due to rain in some parts of the country and delayed sowing of kharif crop, trends of higher prices have been noticed recently.

The Minister directed the officials to keep a close watch on the price situation and take other appropriate measures like discouraging the export of the commodity, if required.

The Ministry decided to have fortnightly review to keep a close watch on the overall price situation.

The government which had faced tough time when the cost of the bulb had soared to as high as Rs 80-85 a kg in the retail in December end last year, is keeping a close watch this time to prevent the situation escalating.

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