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To curb prices, SFAC, Nafed start selling onions in Delhi-NCR

The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation (NAFED) have together procured 7,000-8,000 tonnes onions from Nasik, Maharashtra using the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF).

Retail prices of the key kitchen staple are ruling over Rs 42 per kg in the national Capital, taking cues from Lasalgaon near Nasik — Asia’s biggest onion market —where wholesale rate has risen to Rs 36-38 per kg in last two days.

“We have been selling onion for last 2-3 days in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) via Mother Dairy’s Safal outlets and Delhi Milk Scheme (DMS) booths to increase availability and check prices,” SFAC Managing Director Parvesh Sharma said. SFAC, which is also marketing onions stock of Nafed, is selling about 100 tonnes of onions per day through 300 <g data-gr-id="44">safal</g> outlets and 100 DMS booths at present, he said.

Onions at DMS booths are being sold at a fixed rate of Rs 34 per kg, much below the market rate of Rs 40-42 per kg, while the prices at <g data-gr-id="37">Safal</g> are being fixed by the Mother Dairy itself, he added. 

Sharma said: “The efforts are being made to increase availability and curb price rise. We will further increase the supply of onion in the market depending on the prices.”

SFAC will increase <g data-gr-id="38">sale</g> of onions through DMS booths to 150 in the coming days and also plans to run mobile vans services for direct selling if the need arise, he added.

A senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official said that SFAC has plans to release onion stock in other price sensitive cities in the country and the decision in this regard will be taken depending on the price movement in the coming days. 

The prices in both wholesale and retail markets have been rising in recent weeks due to <g data-gr-id="41">sluggish</g> supply of good quality onion in the wake of the crop getting damaged in storage across major growing states, including Maharashtra.

Apprehending further increase in onion prices, the government has already increased MEP of the commodity to $425 per tonne and extended by another year the ban on hoarding of the key kitchen staple beyond a prescribed limit. The Centre has also tendered import of 10,000 tonnes of onion via <g data-gr-id="39">Nafed</g> to boost the domestic availability.

Much of the Rabi (winter) onion crop is stored to meet the demand in <g data-gr-id="33">lean</g> period. 

But this year, most of the onion kept in storage is of poor quality as the Rabi crop got damaged due to unseasonal rains in early March. 
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