NEW DELHI: In a bid to tackle the prices of onion the government has procured a record 2.5 lakh tonnes of onion from farmers to create buffer stocks for 2022-23. It will be used to intervene in the market in case of a rise in retail prices of onions.
“Beating records, the Centre has procured 2.50 lakh tonnes of onion for the buffer in 2022-23. The onion buffer size in the current year is 0.50 lakh tonnes higher than the 2 lakh tonnes created during 2021-22,” Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The current rabi harvest of onions was procured by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) from farmers through the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in the onion-growing states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
“The stocks will be released through targeted open market sales and also offered to states/UTs and government agencies for supplies through retail outlets during the lean months (August-December) to moderate price rise,” the ministry said.
“The price stabilisation buffer serves the twin objectives of providing remunerative prices to onion farmers and augmenting the availability of onions at affordable prices to the consumers,” it added.
Onion is a semi-perishable vegetable and post-harvest losses due to physiological weight loss, rotting, sprouting etc. are estimated to be substantial.
Rabi onion harvested during April – June accounts for 65 per cent of India’s onion production and meets the consumer’s demand till the Kharif crop is harvested in October-November. “It is therefore vital to successfully store onion to ensure the regular supply,” the ministry said.
To address the post-harvest losses of onions, including loss on account of sub-optimal storage and processing, the Department of Consumer Affairs has announced a Grand Challenge for the development of “Technologies for Primary Processing, Storage and Valorisation of Onions”.
The Grand Challenge on Onions invites efficient and cost-effective solutions for reducing the wastage of onions from Students (UG/PG/Diploma), Research Scholars, Faculty members, Start-Ups and other individuals having an interest in this area.
There are four verticals of challenge viz. Improvements in the designs of storage structures, Pre-harvesting stage, Primary Processing and Valorization: Value addition and utilisation of onion waste.
The challenge has been rolled out in three stages. There will be an evaluation of ideas and technology solutions at three stages (Ideation to Proof-of-Concept stage, Proof of Concept to Product stage and Field implementation) of the proposed technical solution and there is attractive prize money for shortlisted participants at each stage.