Agri Business

Onion farmers in Maharashtra irked by NAFED’s procurement mechanism

Radheshyam Jadhav | | Updated on: May 26, 2022

Arrivals of the kharif crop have been delayed in the South due to heavy rains in October and November | Photo Credit: Manvender Vashist

The cooperative is buying the bulb only from two APMCs

Onion farmers in Maharashtra’s Nashik district have alleged misappropriation in the procurement of the bulb by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED).

Farmers’ organisations alleged that NAFED is purchasing onion only at two agricultural produce marketing committee yards (APMCs) giving a rate of ₹9-11 per kg when the production cost is ₹18-20 per kg.

Nashik MP and Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pawar said the government has brought transparency in onion procurement and if farmers have complaints about the process, the government will look into the issue.  

The per quintal rate of onion at the Lasalgaon APMC market hovered between ₹500 and ₹1,395 per quintal, while the modal price (rate at which most trades take place) remained stable at ₹950 on Thursday. The rates in other APMCs in the State are similar and this is despite the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) having started procurement.

NAFED questioned 

“NAFED is purchasing onion only in Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon Baswant and in a very limited manner. NAFED plans to purchase 2.50 lakh tonnes (lt) of onion across the States in which Maharashtra’s share would be 2.25 lt but on the ground, NAFED is not purchasing onion in big quantity,” said Bharat Dighole, President, Maharashtra State Onion Growers’ Association.

He alleged that NAFED has authorised selected federations of Farmer Producer Companies to procure onion. “There is a plan intended to benefit certain sections through NAFED’s onion procurement and farmers have come up with many complaints regarding this. We are keeping a close eye on the developments and will expose NAFED’s corruption,” he added.  

Bharati Pawar, who is a member of parliament from Dindori ( Nashik) and also Union Minister of State for Health, has refuted these allegations. Recently, she said the government has issued clear guidelines to NAFED for onion procurement. “Tenders were invited for onion purchase and those federations which have storage capacity were allowed to purchase and store the onion for NAFED. The transparent process has been followed,” she said. 

Pawar said if farmers have complaints against NAFED, she will look into the matter. She also demanded that the Maharashtra government must provide grants to onion grower farmers as the price of the bulb crop in the market is falling because of the glut in production.  

Published on May 26, 2022
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