Indian Government’s Strategic Move: 3 Lakh Tonnes of Onion Stockpiled 

Indian Government's Strategic Move: 3 Lakh Tonnes of Onion Stockpiled 

According to Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh, the government has purchased 3 lakh tonnes of onions, which is a 20 per cent increase from last year’s buffer stock. This move is aimed at ensuring a sufficient supply of onions during the festival season and stabilizing prices. The buffer stock, maintained under the Price Stabilisation Fund, aims to address any scarcity and price fluctuations during periods of low supply. 

In addition to the buffer stock, the Consumer Affairs Ministry, together with the Department of Atomic Energy and BARC, is piloting onion irradiation using gamma radiation from Cobalt-60 at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra. This innovative approach aims to extend the shelf life of onions. The onions have been procured from the recently completed rabi season, while the kharif onion sowing is currently underway and its arrival is expected to begin in October. 

During the 2022-23 fiscal year, the government had maintained 2.51 lakh tonnes of onion as buffer stock and released it in major consumption centers between September 2022 and January 2023. The Rabi onion, harvested from April to June, contributes to about 65 per cent of India’s onion production and caters to consumer demand until the Kharif crop is harvested in October-November. 

As of July 15, the average retail price of onions across India was Rs 26.79 per kg, with prices ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 65 per kg. With the increased buffer stock and ongoing experiments on onion irradiation, the government aims to ensure a stable onion supply and avoid price fluctuations during the lean supply season before the arrival of the fresh kharif crop. 

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