Agri Business

Onion farmers in Maharashtra in agitation mode as prices plummet

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on August 17, 2020

Maharsahtra produces close to 30 per cent of India’s onion crop   -  THE HINDU

Seek ₹500-crore package from Centre and State govt as glut threatens farmers’ prospects

Onion farmers in Maharashtra are on war path. Against the production cost of ₹12-13 per kg onion they are getting a rate of ₹6-7 per kg in the market from traders for the last few months. They don’t have any other option than to bring the produce to the market as rains and humidity are destroying the bulb crop in storages.

“The consumer is paying more than ₹20 for per kg onion and farmers are getting ₹6-7 from the traders. The market is flooded because of glut in production and farmers have no option than to sell the produce at whatever price they are getting,” said Bharat Dighole, President, Maharashtra State Onion Growers' Association, speaking to BusinessLine.

He added that the Centre and the State government must provide a package of ₹500 crore to onion grower farmers to recover losses. “Many farmers have lost 50 per cent of the stored onion because of rains and humidity. Losses have been heavy due to rotten onions,” he said.

Maharashtra is the top onion producing State in the country with a share of 28.32 per cent of total domestic production. Farmers have exported onion to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other countries this season.

Threat of agitation

Dighole said that farmers will launch severe agitation if the government fails to accept the demand of ₹500-crore aid.

Jaydutt Holkar, former chairman, Lasalgaon APMC, told BusinessLine that the availability of onion in the market would not be affected in the case farmers launch agitation.

“Onion is coming to the market in big numbers. It is a fact that rates are coming down to ₹300-400 per quintal and farmers are suffering heavily,” he added.

Lasalgaon, which is India’s largest onion wholesale market, is getting a good quantity of onion and the flow would continue, he said.

Farmers in Nashik said that the government takes every possible step to reduce the onion rates when farmers get good returns. Now the government must help farmers when the rates are going down, they said.

Published on August 17, 2020

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