Agri Business

India needs to learn lessons from the onion crisis, says Yalamanchili Sivaji

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 18, 2019 Published on December 18, 2019

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The former Rajya Sabha MP also wants to bring agricultural marketing under the Concurrent List

Farmer leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Yalamanchili Sivaji in a representation to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India needs to learn lessons from crises like that of the current onion shortage, and find solutions to ensure that they do not recur.

The representation made to the Finance Minister as part of the pre-budget consultations.

“The onion crisis merely underlines the need for a robust mechanism to assess likely output trends so that the government can take preventive action. There have been years when the farmers are forced to resort to distress sales following a crash in prices in the wake of a bumper crop,” Sivaji said in his representation.

He noted that there has been a country-wide furore due to the increase in the prices onion, but not a tear was shed for the farmers when prices crashed in the past.

He also said the government which promptly announces minimum support prices for a variety of crops doesn't have the mechanism or resources to ensure their implementation, except for a few crops such as cotton, rice or wheat.

Role of the State governments

Sivaji, who is known for his fight to get tobacco farmers a better price their produce, made a call for bringing agricultural marketing under the Concurrent List, saying that this move would make implementation of reforms in agricultural marketing such as eNAM possible.

According to him, the State governments, which collect thousands of crores of Rupees as market cess, do little to provide basic facilities in market yards, and so farmers are forced to keep their produce in open yards, which are exposed to rains and floods.

The time has come for India to strengthen its agriculture market intelligence research, so that guidance can be provided on the crops to be taken and time of marketing, among other things. Commodity Situation Reports derived from such market intelligence can be useful for sensitive commodities (such as onion and pulses) and can help initiate policy decisions in advance, the farmer leader from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, said.

Published on December 18, 2019
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