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Maharashtra Govt Requests Centre to Purchase Additional 2 lakh tonnes of Onion to Help Farmers

Onion is Maharashtra's main cash crop, accounting for 35 to 40% of the country's total production of the staple vegetable. With a good monsoon, onion production in 2021-22 is expected to reach 136.70 lakh metric tonnes, a 20 lakh metric tonnes increase over the previous season.

Shivam Dwivedi

With domestic onion prices falling and farmer financial stress rising, the Maharashtra government has requested that Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal purchase approximately 2 lakh tonnes of onions across the state through the state's agency, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED).

"Due to a drop in onion prices, onion farmers are facing financial difficulties." As a result, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has asked Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Supplies Piyush Goyal to purchase 2 lakh metric tonnes of onion through the Price Stabilization Fund via Nafed, according to a statement issued by the Maharashtra chief minister's office.

However, the CMO's statement made no mention of the current selling price of onions in the state. Maharashtra's main cash crop is onion, which accounts for 35 to 40% of the country's total production of the staple vegetable. According to the statement, with a good monsoon, onion production is expected to reach 136.70 lakh metric tonnes in 2021-22, which is 20 lakh metric tonnes more than the previous season. Overall market prices have dropped dramatically.

"As a result, there is a sense of despair and unease among onion growers," the statement continued. Furthermore, referring to Sri Lanka as a major importer of onions, the company stated that exports to the neighbouring island nation had ceased due to the ongoing economic crisis. "Due to the ever-changing situation in the international market," the statement continued, "it is not possible for our farmers to obtain good prices from exports."

Meanwhile, the Central Government has purchased 2.50 lakh tonnes of onion as a buffer for the 2022-23 season, breaking previous records. The buffer size of onions for this year is 0.50 lakh tonnes greater than the 2.0 lakh tonnes obtained in 2021-22. The onions obtained during the rabi harvest season are intended for price stabilization in the event that rates rise significantly during the lean supply season.

Several times in the past, onion prices skyrocketed, necessitating immediate government intervention, such as imposing stock limits on traders or export restrictions. Rabi onion harvested between April and June accounts for 65% of India's onion production and meets consumer demand until the Kharif crop is harvested between October and November.

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