Agri Business

Centre to allot ₹50 cr to create onion storage facilities in Maharashtra

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on March 11, 2020 Published on March 11, 2020

Onion farmers in Maharashtra will get over ₹50 crore in subsidy in 2020-21 fiscal year for creating onion storage facilities under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana ( RKVY).

The Central government’s scheme is aimed at enhancing the storage facilities in the State so that farmers are not left at the mercy of market forces and uncertain climatic conditions.

Centre-State share

A senior official of the Maharashtra government told BusinessLine that over 6,500 farmers will get the Central subsidy for constructing open onion storage facilities, called Kanda chawl in local parlance. Of the total project cost, the Centre will provide 60 per cent subsidy and the rest will be provided by the State government,

Given the short shelf-life of onions, long-term storage requires a well-ventilated structure, where crops get air and sunlight but it is protected from water, the official said.

Maharashtra produces about 30 per cent of the total onion output in the country. Onion is grown in kharif (June- July), late kharif (August- September) and rabi (November-December) seasons.

The crop produced in kharif and late kharif has limited shelf life and farmers bring the crops to the market immediately after harvest. Rabi onions can be kept in good condition if stored in scientifically built storage structures.

Price fluctuations

Both the Centre and the State government are trying to stabilise onion prices. Creating storage facilities is part of the efforts.

The Nashik region, which is the largest producer of onions in the State, suffered major crop loses due to heavy rains in September and October last year. It led to a massive rally in prices by December. In major cities such across the country, retail prices were as high as ₹150 a kg. By January, the Centre asked MMTC Ltd to buy onions from Egypt and Turkey, but by that time late kharif crop arrived, leading to massive wastage and distress sale of imported onions.

The onion market is slightly buoyant now as export restrictions have been lifted. Export of all varieties of onion will be allowed from March 15, after five and a half months of curbs.

Spot prices

On Wednesday, onions at Lasalgaon APMC market were traded at ₹900 to ₹1991 per quintal. The average traded price was ₹1,750. Lasalgaon APMC market serves as the national benchmark.

Onion trader Santosh Kalekar said that following the lifting of ban on exports, there is a positive sentiment in the market. In the last two weeks, the wholesale prices have increased by ₹200 to 300 per quintal.

 

 

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Published on March 11, 2020
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