To avoid the mistake which happened this year – the onion crisis, Central government has expressed their concern to make a buffer stock of 1 lakh tonnes of the primary kitchen staple this year, a senior government official confirmed.
The government had made a buffer stock of 56,000 tonnes for 2019, but it was not enough to contain the prices which are still ruling above Rs 100 per kg in the majority of cities nationwide. Hence, the government was forced to import through state-run MMTC.
“The issue was discussed in detail in the recent meeting of the group of ministers (GoM), headed by Home Minister Amit Shah. It was decided that higher buffer stock of about 1 lakh tonne will be created for next year,” the official informed.
Cooperative Nafed, which had maintained the buffer stock of onion on behalf of the government, will continue to do so even this year. It will source the rabi (winter) onion crop — which has higher shelf life — between March and July directly from farmers, the official shared.
Onion prices fell sharply due to 26 per cent fall in kharif and late kharif (summer) production because of late monsoon and then the unprecedented rainfalls in important growing states especially Maharasthra and Karnataka in the earlier year.
In order to keep a check on the rising prices, the government took various steps to increase the domestic availability including a ban on exports, stock limits on traders besides sale of onion at subsidised prices from its buffer stock and imports.