Maharashtra farmers, led by the State Onion Growers’ Association, have threatened to stop bringing onion to the agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) yards from August 16, if they don’t get an average price of ₹25 per kg for their produce.

Maharashtra State Onion Growers’ Association President Bharat Dighole said in a statement on Monday: “For the past 7-8 months onion growers are receiving a meagre payment for their produce and have suffered huge losses. The Union and State governments have ignored the woes of onion growers. They have instead, taken steps to bring down the onion rates.”

Growers have alleged that the Centre’s policy to keep onion prices under control by imposing a ban on exports, importing onion, raiding onion traders, and limiting the storage has harmed farmers. 

Falling on deaf ears?

“Now farmers are selling at a very low price and are unable to even recover production costs.  MLAs, MPs, and Ministers have not takenany concrete steps, to help the farmers. Hence, farmers are agitated. From August 16, farmers must get an average of ₹25 per kg at the APMC auctions or else Maharashtra onion farmers will stop selling their produce at APMC auctions for an indefinite period,” said Dighole.  

Growers said various farmers’ organisations have been agitating for the past few months as onion priceshave declined, , but the demands are not even being acknowledged. 

Farmers alleged that even the NAFED purchased 2.5 lakh tonnes of onion at ₹10-12 per kg. The production cost is ₹20-22 per kg and now farmers are selling at ₹8-10 per kg. 

Farmers say, a huge volume stored in chawls in April and May is rotten due to weather conditions, and they can’t even take their produce to the market owing to the low rate. 

“Maharashtra being the largest producer of onion, and if farmers stop bringing them to the market, the government will be under pressure. We don’t have any other option to draw the government’s attention to our problem,” said Dighole.