The government will offload about 50,000 tonnes of onions from its buffer stocks to a few cities like Delhi and Guwahati, where retail prices are a little higher than the all-India average rates. To stabilise onion prices, the Centre is maintaining a buffer stock of 2.5 lakh tonnes of onion.

Sources said that the department of consumer affairs will sell 50,000 tonnes of onions to cities like Delhi and Guwahati from its buffer stocks.

There are many cities where prices are higher than the all-India average rates, they added.

The all-India average prices of onions stood at Rs 26 per kg on Tuesday.

As the shelf life of onions is less, the department has written to all states to place orders if they need onions, the sources said. The Centre is offering onions at around Rs 18 per kg.

The department is also exploring how to improve the shelf life of onions through the radiation process, they added.

Onion production in 2020-21 was 266.41 lakh tonnes and consumption was 160.50 lakh tonnes.

Due to its perishable nature and the gap between the rabi and kharif crops, the prices of onions tend to increase during the lean months of September to December.

The overall post-harvest losses of onion occur due to several factors like loss of moisture content, fungal infection, decay loss, sprouting loss etc. which may be reduced through improved storage facilities.

To address the problem of post-harvest loss of onions, the department has rolled out a hackathon/grand challenge to the scientific community, researchers and startups for seeking ideas and development of a prototype for post-harvest storage of onions.

There are four verticals of the challenge namely, improvements in the designs of storage structures, pre-harvesting stage, primary processing and valorisation; value addition and utilisation of onion waste.

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