New Delhi: Minister of State for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Raosaheb Dadarao Danve, said in the Parliament today that as per the estimates of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, the storage of onion in the year 2017 and 2018 was 48.73 and 50.05 lakh megatons (MT), respectively. The combined Kharif and late Kharif production for 2019-20 is estimated at 54.73 lakh MT as against 69.91 lakh MT in 2018-19.
Onion is a seasonal crop with harvesting period of Rabi (March to June), Kharif (October to December) and late Kharif (January to March). In the intervening period (July to October), the market is fed by stored Rabi onions. During 2019-20, there was a 3-4 weeks delay in sowing as well as a decline in sown area of the Kharif onion because of the late arrival of monsoon.
Further, untimely prolonged rains in the major growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh during the harvesting period of September-October caused damage to the standing crops in these regions. This adversely impacted production and quality of the Kharif crop.
The rains during September-October also affected the transportation of the crop from these regions to consuming areas. This led to limited availability of Kharif onion in the market and put pressure on its prices.
Several steps such as the creation of onion buffer of about 57,373 MT during Rabi 2019, withdrawal of incentive on export of onions under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) from 11 July 2019, imposition of Minimum Export Price (MEP) of $850/MT on 13 September, subsequent ban on exports of onions since 29 September, facilitation of import, imposition of stock limit on onion traders, approval for import of onion through Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation (MMTC) and domestic procurement of onions from producing/surplus States by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) for supplies in deficit States.
This information was given in a written reply by the Minister of State for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Raosaheb Dadarao Danve in Rajya Sabha today.