Govt buys 20k tonnes onions for buffer stock, exceeds target

Govt buys 20k tonnes onions for buffer stock, exceeds target

Exceeding the target, the Centre has procured 20,000 tonnes of onion from farmers to create a buffer stock to be utilised for market intervention in the event of price rise during a lean season.

Last year, the government had procured 8,000 tonnes of onion but it was done after the retail prices had gone through the roof to about Rs 80-90/kg.

The government, however, this year decided to buy on time and set a target to procure 15,000 tonnes of onion from the rabi crop of the 2015-16 crop year (July-June).

"Onion procurement has touched 20,000 tonnes so far, higher than the set target," Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.

Nodal agencies Nafed and SFAC have procured onion at below Rs 10 per kg, which will be supplied in the market during the lean season (August-September), he said.

Besides onion, Paswan said, the government has procured 40,000 tonnes of rabi pulses, especially gram and masoor.

The government has set a procurement target of 1,00,000 tonnes of pulses from rabi crop, comprising 80,000 tonnes of chana and 20,000 tonnes of masoor for creating a buffer stock. The procurement of rabi pulses is still going on.

Onion and pulses are being procured from the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF), which has a corpus of Rs 900 crore for this fiscal to support the market interventions.

Onion production is estimated to be increased to 20.33 million tonnes in 2015-16 from 18.92 million tonnes in the previous year, as per government data.

Whereas, pulses output is estimated to be down at 17.06 million tonnes, much lower than the demand of 23.62 million tonnes. The gap is met through imports.

At present, retail onion prices are ruling at Rs 15-25/kg and pulses in the range of Rs 85-185 per kg in most parts of the country, showed government data.

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