New Delhi: A day after reports surfaced that the prices of the onion in the market were going high at Rs 70-80 per kg in Delhi and other parts of the country, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand on Thursday said the high price will calm down from November onwards when the fresh khareef crop will be available in the market.
“We have a buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes. We have already liquidated 15,000 tonnes of onion. I think if we can release the remaining stock for another about two months and in early November we are expecting khareef crop, prices will be back to normal,” Chand told PTI.
Onion prices in the market skyrocketed in the last month because of supply disruption from flood-affected onion-growing states like Maharashtra. Last week’s rainfall affected the supply more, due to which onion prices have surged up to Rs 70-80 per kg in Delhi and other parts of the country.
To keep the onion price under control, the Central government is offloading onion from its buffer stock through agencies like Nafed, NCCF and Mother Dairy’s Safal outlets in Delhi at a cheaper rate of Rs 23.90 per kg.
Talking about the Centre’s failure to control the price rise, Chand said since there is no mechanism to capture agriculture outlook, the government is not able to bring any sort of strategy.
“Every year, we face some serious shock. Now, onion is the focus of discussion. Suddenly, prices have increased by 2-3 times. We don’t have clue about it,” he said.
He also said that it is not possible on the part of the government to predict events like impact on produce due to untimely rains and floods. “Such a forecasting mechanism will help us to have the right strategy. If we foresee a shortage of onion, we can import onions in advance,” he added.
Echoing a similar voice on the onion price rise, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had on Tuesday said that the price will calm down after November with supply being boosted through agencies like Nafed.
“Onion situation will improve in the next few days. Cooperative Nafed is releasing stock from the central buffer at a lower price. We have enough stock of onions,” Tomar told PTI.
He said that the government is aware of the situation and is taking appropriate steps to contain the price rise.
“At times, consumers have to pay a 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,” Tomar added.
According to data from the consumer affairs ministry, retail onion price was ruling at Rs 60/kg in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow on Wednesday. While it was being sold at Rs 58/kg in Mumbai and Rs 42/kg in Chennai, the price of onion in Kanpur were at Rs 70/kg and at Rs 80/kg in Port Blair.
Earlier, the Centre had asked the Delhi government to take onion from its buffer stock and sell at a maximum retail price of Rs 23.90 per kg through its civil supplies department and ration shops.
“We have requested the Delhi government to further boost supply by selling the central buffer stock of onion through its civil supplies department and ration shops,” a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official told PTI.