Nashik district guardian Minister Dada Bhuse convened a meeting with onion traders on Friday and urged them to call off their indefinite strike that was launched on Wednesday. Bhuse said the State government is willing to engage in further discussions on the issue, but it is crucial for the traders to halt their protest. He said if the strike continues, it could affect farmers and consumers, especially during the festive season.

The Lasalgaon and other agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) boards on Thursday issued warnings to traders, stating that strict actions would be taken against those participating in the strike. Additionally, APMCs threatened to revoke trading licenses.

Trade at the Lasalgaon APMC yard, which typically sees an average daily arrival of 15,000-20,000 quintals of onions, has been a a standstill over the past two days.

Traders alleged that government agencies — the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) and the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF) — are procuring onions from Nashik farmers and selling them to APMCs in other States at significantly lower price than what the traders charge bulk buyers. Traders argue that this practice is causing them to suffer and is adversely affecting their trade in other States.

In addition, traders are also demanding that the Centre reconsider the 40 per cent export duty imposed on onions last month. Meanwhile, they clarified that they are not officially on strike but are choosing not to participate in auctions. They told the media, “the market is open, but we are not engaging in trading.”