About 500 onion traders in Nashik began an indefinite strike against government policies on Wednesday, bringing all onion auctions at Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in the district to a standstill. Nashik is home to Asia’s largest onion market in Lasalgaon and the strike is likely to affect onion supplies in other States.
The traders allege that government agencies- National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) and the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF), are procuring onions from farmers in Nashik and selling them to APMCs in other States at significantly lower prices than what the traders charge bulk buyers.
In the first phase, Nafed and NCCF bought three lakh quintals of onions and are currently in the process of procuring an additional two lakh quintals in Nashik. Khandu Deore, president of the Nashik District Onion Traders’ Association, told the media that traders are urging Nafed and NCCF to release their buffer stock in the retail markets instead of the APMCs.
Furthermore, the traders have demanded that the Centre reconsider the 40 per cent export duty on onions was imposed last month.
Meanwhile, onion farmers have opposed the strike saying that already onion farmers have suffered due to fluctuation of prices and strike by traders will further add to the trouble of farmers.