In a remarkable decision, the Indian Government has increased the onion buffer stock to five lakh metric tonnes this year, surpassing the initial procurement goal of three lakh metric tonnes. To achieve this supplementary target, the Department of Consumer Affairs has instructed the NCCF and Nafed to acquire one lakh tonnes each, while also efficiently distributing the procured supplies in key consumption hubs.
The process of distributing onions from the buffer has already commenced, with a focus on major markets across states and union territories where retail prices surpass the national average or have risen significantly compared to the previous month. Currently, approximately 1,400 MT of onions from the buffer have been dispatched to these designated markets, with a continuous release strategy to bolster availability.
In an effort to provide relief to consumers, onions from the buffer will be accessible at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per kg through retail outlets and mobile vans operated by NCCF starting from Monday, 21 August 2023. Additionally, the distribution of onions through retail sales is set to expand with the collaboration of various agencies and e-commerce platforms.
The multi-pronged approach adopted by the government, encompassing procurement for the buffer, targeted release of stocks, and imposition of export duties, is expected to benefit both farmers and consumers. This strategy ensures profitable prices for onion farmers and a consistent supply of onions to consumers at affordable rates.