Government procures 3 lakh tonnes of onion for buffer stock : The Tribune India

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Government procures 3 lakh tonnes of onion for buffer stock

Piloting irradiation of onion with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to increase shelf life

Government procures 3 lakh tonnes of onion for buffer stock

Photo for representational purpose only. Tribune file



PTI

New Delhi, July 16

The government has procured 20 per cent more onion at 3 lakh tonnes as buffer stock this year, while also piloting irradiation of onion with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to increase shelf life, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said on Sunday.

In the 2022-23 fiscal, the government had maintained 2.51 lakh tonnes of onion as buffer stock.

The buffer stock is maintained under the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) to meet any exigencies, if rates go up significantly during the lean supply season.

“To meet any eventuality in the festival season, the government this year developed a robust buffer to an extent of 3 lakh tonnes. There is no problem with onions,” Singh told PTI.

Onion that is procured for the buffer stock is from the just completed rabi season. Presently, the kharif onion sowing is underway and its arrival begins in October.

The Secretary said, “Usually, onion prices in the retail markets come under pressure for 20 days or so till the fresh kharif crop hits the market. But this time, there won’t be a problem.”

Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Ministry is also trying a technology for storage of onions with the Department of Atomic Energy and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

“On a pilot basis, we are experimenting with onion irradiation of 150 tonnes with gamma radiation from Cobalt-60 at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra. This will increase the shelf life of onions,” Singh said.

In 2022-23, the government had procured a record 2.51 lakh metric tonnes of onions from Rabi-2022 crop under the PSF and released it in major consumption centres during September 2022 and January 2023.

Rabi onion harvested during April-June accounts for 65 per cent of India’s onion production and meets consumers’ demand till the Kharif crop is harvested in October-November.

The procured buffer stocks are usually released through targeted open market sales and also to states and Union territories and government agencies for supplies through retail outlets during the lean supply season.

The government data showed the average all-India retail price of onion was ruling at Rs 26.79 per kg on July 15, while the maximum was Rs 65 per kg and minimum was Rs 10 per kg.


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