National Agriculture co-operative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed), which procured onions from Lasalgaon and other wholesale markets in the state over the past four months is now set to dispose nearly 13,000 tonnes of the buffer stock from its various storage facilities across Nashik district, top officials of NAFED said.
These onions will be supplied either to state governments as per requirements or be sold in the wholesale markets in the country. In April this year, the Centre had directed the Nafed to start onion procurement in a bid to create a buffer stock to tackle scarcity and stabilise prices in domestic market.
Five months ago, Nafed started procurement of around 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes of onion from Nashik, Maharashtra’s onion belt. Sanjeev Kumar Chadha, MD, Nafed had told FE that the plan was to procure onions under the price stabilisation fund (PSF) from Nashik in view of falling prices.
Onion prices had fallen to a modal price of Rs 806 per quintal. “We will gradually dispose as per instructions of the Consumer Affairs Department. It has just started and will continue till October,” Chadha said. Nafed is currently in the process of deploying transporters to carry onions to various locations in the country.
Usually a supply and demand imbalance can lead to shooting up of prices in the months between the harvest seasons. The Centre had therefore planned to establish a buffer stock to tackle the scarcity of onions, particularly during the period from July to September.
Chada said that some 13,000 metric tonnes of onions were procured using Price Stability Funds (PSF). Around 80% of the onions were procured from Lasalgaon, Pimpalgaon and Kalwan APMCs across Nashik district. Nafed had then procured the onions at an average price of Rs 1,100 per quintal.
Nafed could however procure only 13,000 tonnes of onions due to the lack of storage facilities. Nafed has two storage complexes at Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon with a capacity of 5,000 tonnes. Some of the storage was hired from farmers, Chadha maintained that constraints of storage has always been there.
During summer last year, the centre did not procure onions due to adequate availability. However, in August last year, onion prices began shooting up and the Centre directed Nafed to begin procurement to cater to demand from Delhi and other locations. Some part of the procurement was to be done through Nafed and some through Farmer Producer Companies ( FPCs). The harvest of summer onions starts between March and April.
Source: Financial Express