Updated, Nov. 04, 2023. 8.55 PM.
The Government has initiated aggressive retail sale of onion from the buffer at subsidized price of 25 rupees per kg to protect the interest of consumers from recent increase in onion prices due to delay in the arrival of kharif crop. This comes as another measure in addition to the slew of measures put in place to ensure availability and affordability of onion to domestic consumers. Government has already imposed Minimum Export Price (MEP) of 800 dollars per Metric Ton with effect from 29th of last month, enhancement of buffer procurement by two lakh tons, over and above five lakh tons already procured and the continuous disposal of onion through retail sales, e-Nam auction and bulk sales in wholesale markets since second week of August.
Ministry of Consumer Affairs has started aggressive disposal of onion through retail outlets and mobile vans operated by NCCF, NAFED, Kendriya Bhandar and other State controlled cooperatives at subsidized price of 25 rupees per kg. Till 2nd of this month, NAFED has set up 329 retail points, consisting of stationary outlets and mobile vans, in 55 cities across 21 states. Similarly, NCCF has set up 457 retail points in 54 cities across 20 states. Kendriya Bhandar too, has started retail supply of onion through its retail outlets across Delhi-NCR from yesterday and Safal Mother Dairy will start sale from this weekend. The retail sale of onion to consumers in Telangana and other southern states are being taken up by Hyderabad Agricultural Cooperatives Association.
In order to control the seasonal price volatility between rabi and kharif crops, the Government maintains onion buffer by procuring rabi onion for subsequent calibrated and targeted release. This year, the buffer size has been raised to 7 Lakh Metric Tonnes from 2.5 Lakh Metric Tonnes in 2022-23. Till date 5 Lakh Metric Tonnes of onion has been procured and the procurement of balance 2 Lakh Metric Tonnes is in progress.
The proactive measures taken by the Government has started showing result. Onion prices in benchmark Lasalgaon market declined from 4,800 rupees per quintal on 28 of last month to 3,650 rupees per quintal yesterday, showing a decline of 24 per cent. Retail prices are expected to show similar decline from the coming week.