NAFED extends onion procurement deadline for buffer by a wk to Aug 7

Thursday, Jul 30, 2020


By Kaushal Verma


NEW DELHI – The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India has extended the deadline for procuring onion at the market price to build a buffer stock of 100,000 tn by a week to Aug 7, a senior official with the agency said today. 


"The agency had fixed the target for end of July. The deadline has been extended as the target is yet to be met," the official told Cogencis. Procurement is being carried out in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. 


Around 85,000 tn onion has been procured in these states, of which, 75,000 tn was purchased in Maharashtra, the official said.


Maharashtra is the top grower of the vegetable, and Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are among the leading producers.


The federation has fixed 85,000 tn procurement aim for Maharashtra till Jul 31. In a week, it may buy 7,000 tn more vegetable in the state, Nana Saheb Patil, director of the agency's Nashik region, said.


NAFED is carrying out onion procurement operations under the price stabilisation fund in which the government through its nodal agencies procure the commodity to build a buffer and release it at lower rates when prices in markets rise significantly, Patil said. 


Currently, fair average quality onion is fetching 950 rupees per 100 kg, traders said.


Cogencis, earlier this month, exclusively reported that the government may not be able to meet the procurement target this year.


Labour shortage, closure of some markets due to lockdown and monsoon rains have hit the pace of procurement this year, Patil said. Labourers had migrated to their hometowns due to the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.


NAFED had procured around 45,000 tn of the crop in July.

The agency has nearly doubled the onion buffer target this year from around 56,000 tn set for 2019-20 (Apr-Mar), he said.


NAFED had set up a buffer last year to dispose off the vegetable and cool off prices, the official said. Last year, prices of onion had skyrocketed prompting the government to ban exports, impose stock limits and allow imports as part of measures to soften the prices. 


Onion prices had hit a record high of around 200 rupees a kg in retail markets during Nov-Dec due to smaller as well as late kharif crop, which was damaged following torrential rains in key growing regions.


The agency had disposed of the commodity from the buffer stock earlier at around 23 rupees a kg to rein in prices, the official said.  End


Edited by Shirsha Thakur


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