Buoyed by late but steady Kharif onion arrivals that is expected to remain till Rabi arrival from March 2022, the all-India average retail price of onion as on February 17 was Rs 35.28/kg, which is 22.36 per cent lower than that of the last year, as per an official statement on Friday.
Prices of onion remained substantially stable during 2021-22 due to effective market intervention through the Price Stabilisation Fund, the Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry statement said.
“Onion buffer of 2.08 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) built in current year under the Price Stabilisation Fund has been released in a calibrated and targeted manner to states/cities where prices are increasing over the previous month and also to source markets such as Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon to augment the availability in these key mandis,” it said.
Further, states/UTs had been offered onion at Rs 21/kgs ex-storage locations and Safal had also been supplied at Rs 26/kg inclusive of transportation cost. The aggressive releases of onion from the buffer have contributed to stability in prices.
Similarly, the retail prices of potato as on February 17 was Rs 20.58/kg, 6.96 per cent lower than last month.
“Potato sowing has been delayed in the southern part of West Bengal due to cyclone Jawad, however, the state reported that crop area has recovered almost to the level of last year. The total crop area for 2021-22 is estimated to be comparable with that of last year,” the release said.
Under the Price Stabilisation Fund scheme, interest free advances are provided to states/UTs for creation of state-level Price Stabilisation Fund, on a 50:50 sharing basis (75:25 in case of NE States). So far six states, viz., Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal have drawn the advance and a total of Rs 164.15 crore has been released as Central share.
These states have the funds and mandate to undertake necessary interventions for controlling prices of essential food commodities. Other states have also been requested to set up the PSF for state-level interventions to control price rise in essential food commodities, the release said.
The retail price of tomato has been on a decline during the past one month though it remained slightly above year’s level. As on February 17, the all-India average price of tomato was Rs 26.69/kg, which is lower than last month. “As arrivals in north India will pick up pace and prices will go down further in the coming week. Arrivals in South India will also increase in the coming week and will pick up pace till end February,” the release added.