Ahead of the farmers’ march to the national capital on February 13, the Union Government is actively working to address concerns among onion farmers in Maharashtra and to prevent any potential scarcity or price fluctuations ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

A team from the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare recently visited Nashik to engage with onion growers and assess the status of cultivation. They gathered data on rabi cultivation, projected production, as well as estimates regarding delayed kharif production and arrivals at major Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC).

This visit follows a period of unrest among onion farmers in Nashik, home to Asia’s largest onion market. Farmers have voiced dissatisfaction with government policies, particularly regarding export restrictions and procurement practices by bodies such as NAFED and NCCF.

Minister monitors developments

Bharati Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and Tribal Affairs representing the Dindori Lok Sabha constituency in Nashik, has been closely monitoring developments within onion farmers’ organisations. She has been actively communicating with farmers to address their concerns and has assured them of the government’s commitment to support them.

“NAFED and NCCF announced plans to procure two lakh tonnes of onion to assist farmers. However, the procurement process is flawed. We have demanded that instead of procurement, the government should directly compensate farmers at a rate of ₹30 per kg for onions,” said Bharat Dighole, President of the Maharashtra State Onion Producers Organization.

Farmers allege that the majority are unaware of the procurement centers, further exacerbating their grievances.