The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has so far procured 25,000 tonnes of onion from FPOs (farmer producer organisations), co-operative firms and direct purchase centres in order to create a buffer stock.
Last year, the federated purchased a total of 57,000 tonnes of onion from the 2018-19 rabi (winter) crop. This time, the target is to buy 1 lakh tonnes, sources said.
“This initiative will have the dual benefit of stabilising the domestic prices of onion in the COVID-19 time as well and create an all-time high buffer stocking of 1 lakh tonne which may be utilised for the lean months,” NAFED said in an official statement.
Onion is being purchased from several states, including Maharashtra, MP (Madhya Pradesh) and Gujarat.
In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, NAFED is holding virtual review meetings with stakeholders to monitor the progress of procurement, as ground challenges remain due to the deadly contagion.
In some regions, pre-monsoon showers have affected the pace of procurement.
This season, the services of technical experts have also been taken in by NAFED in an attempt to reduce the storage losses.
Furthermore, a pilot project is being carried out for storage of onion after irradiation in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to evaluate the gain on account of shelf life and quality keeping.
NAFED is not only engaged in the process of creating more storage space on cluster models at farm gates in the onion growing regions but has also approached the state governments to send their requirements of lean months in advance in order to facilitate the timely evacuation of the stored onion in a planned manner.
Besides onion, the cooperative is also procuring pulses for creating a buffer stock.