In a bailout package for Gujarat onion and potato farmers crippled by falling prices, the state government has announced financial assistance to the tune of Rs100 crore for this sector. Under this, the state government will pay Rs1 per kg more for the commodities. “Following the huge production of potato and onion in Gujarat, the state government has decided to provide financial assistance to farmers. We have decided to allocate Rs100 crore for the scheme,” said Nitin Patel, deputy chief minister of Gujarat. According to the government, the state has 3.9 million tonnes potato and about one million tonnes onion production this year. Currently onion prices range from Rs3-8 per kg as against Rs8-12 last year during this time. Potato prices also declined to Rs2-4 per kg against Rs6-7 in previous year. It may be mentioned that potato farmers had recently thrown potatoes on the roads in various parts of the state as a mark of protest against the inability of the government to pay expected prices.
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Also, Gujarat Congress had blocked roads across the state to demand loan waiver, hike in minimum support price and power supply at the affordable rates for the farmers. To assess the situation, the Gujarat government has formed a committee which includes cabinet minister Chiman Shapariya, health minister Shankar Chaudhary, irrigation minister Nanubhai Vanani and agriculture minister Vallabh Vaghasiya. The committee is headed by Nitin Patel. Patel said, “Gujarat government is committed to the farmers’ interest and we will further provide all kind of assistance to the farmers whenever they need.” The state government had also procured onion in significant amount to support the farmers in Saurashtra area earlier this year, he added.