The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) has created a buffer stock of 99,000 tons of onion as of November 2020 to meet the demand until the next harvest. However, it expects 25.2% or 25,000 tons to get damaged before they can be distributed.
NAFED stores its buffer stock of onion using traditional methods, as opposed to cold storage, leading to wastage. As per the data, every year almost 100 per cent of the stock procured is stored in traditional and conventionally designed storage facilities. In 2020, approximately 15% of the stocks were stored in modern and equipped storage facilities as popularised by the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF). The wastages are further aggravated due to adverse weather conditions like untimely rainfall and excess moisture.
Moreover, NAFED procures and stores onion mostly in three states- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. This concentration of stock storage in just three states which makes it more susceptible to adverse weather shocks. Moreover, this doesn't allow for immediate action when needed, in fact, delays it. A decentralised system of procurement and storage with proper tracking can make the system more robust.
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