Farmers in Maharashtra took to the streets on Thursday to protest against falling onion prices in the state. Led by Kolhapur MP Raju Shetti, once a protege of late farmer leader Sharad Joshi, the agitation saw sentiments run high among the farmer community who were demanding a minimum support price for the commodity.
Shetti, who heads farmer organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), called for government intervention in view of the falling prices and demanded an MSP for onion at Chakan near Pune. Joshi had led a similar agitation in 1980 at Chakan. Shetti said that onion should be removed from the essential commodities list and said incentives should be given on the lines of sugar to encourage exports. He expressed dismay that situations remained unchanged despite agitations held for over four decades. Government policies have failed to provide any comfort to the farmer, he said. The government intervened when prices were high and now no steps are being taken to restore prices, he pointed out. Shetti felt that a minimum support price of R15 should be given to farmers who are forced to accept lower prices than the actual production cost.
He warned that unless the government intervenes to correct the situation, the agitation could take a turn for the worse. Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana in Maharashtra has been at the forefront of a protest to seek higher sugarcane prices for farmers from sugar cooperatives over the past decade and is now part of the ruling party alliance in Maharashtra. In addition to sugar, Shetti has also decided to agitate for better onion prices in the interests of farmers.
Onion prices at Lasalgaon, the biggest wholesale market for onion in the country stood at R725 per quintal with the minimum price at R300 per quintal and arrivals crossing 10,000 quintals.
Farmers in Maharashtra took to the streets on Thursday to protest against falling onion prices in the state.
Raju Shetti, who heads farmer organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), called for government intervention. Shetti says an MSP of R15 should be given to farmer.
Onion prices at Lasalgaon, the biggest wholesale market for onion in the country stood at R725 per quintal.