Onion prices will calm down in the next few days as government-owned agencies have started releasing stock from the central buffer, India’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said yesterday.
The price of the kitchen staple has gradually increased in the last one month because of supply disruption in flood-hit onion-growing states like Maharashtra.
Last week’s rains have further affected the supply, following which onion prices have surged, as per traders.
“The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) is releasing stock at a lower price. We have enough stock of onion,” Tomar told reporters here.
The government is aware of the onion situation and taking measures to balance in the interest of both farmers and consumers, he said.
“At times, consumers have to pay high price for farm items and at times, farmers get less price for their produce. Our role is to balance this. We are aware of it and are taking several measures.”
At present, stored onions are being sold in most parts of the country as fresh Kharif (summer) crop will hit the market in November, traders said. There is enough supply of stored onion of the previous year’s crop in the country but heavy rains are affecting its transportation.
The Indian government has taken several measures to arrest the prices of onion, including offloading it from the buffer stock through agencies like the NAFED and the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF).
The NAFED and the NCCF are selling each kg of the pungent vegetable at around Rs 22 and state-run Mother Dairy at Rs 23.90 in Delhi.
The government has a buffer stock of 56,000 tonnes of onion, of which 16,000 tonnes have been offloaded so far.
The government has hiked the minimum export price of onion and is also cracking down on black marketers.
On September 13, India set $850 (Tk 71,821) as minimum export price per tonne.
The move made the onion market highly volatile in Bangladesh as the country meets a portion of its annual demand for the kitchen staple through imports for inadequate domestic production.
In Bangladesh, the onion price went up to the range of Tk 60-75 a kg from Tk 45-55 two weeks ago.