Government Plans to Scale Up Onion Irradiation for Increased Shelf Life

  • 23 May 2024

In May, 2024, the Union government intends to significantly increase onion irradiation this financial year to extend the shelf life of its buffer stock, ensuring less perishability and enhanced preservation.

Key Points

  • Irradiation Expansion: Consumer Affairs Secretary revealed plans to raise onion irradiation from 1200 to one lakh tonnes this year to bolster the buffer stock's preservation capacity.
  • Buffer Stock Procurement: The government aims to procure five lakh tonnes of onions in 2024-25 for the buffer stock, compared to 6.46 lakh tonnes in the previous fiscal year.
  • Irradiation Centers: NCCF and NAFED are tasked with identifying 50 centers for irradiating and storing onions procured for the buffer stock to increase their shelf life.
  • Storage Strategy: Onions will be stocked near consumption centers instead of production belts like Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, with controlled atmosphere storage near major rail heads to reduce travel time.
  • Price Stabilisation Fund: Procurements are conducted under the Price Stabilisation Fund, aimed at stabilizing food commodity prices by managing buffer stocks.
  • Export Ban Lifted: The Centre lifted the onion export ban on May 4, subject to a minimum export price of $550 per metric tonne and a 40% duty.
  • Curbing Post-Harvest Losses: Irradiation helps mitigate post-harvest losses, as sprouting during storage causes significant losses, with estimates suggesting up to 40% loss potential.