APMCs in Nashik seek revocation of onion exports ban

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Published: October 2, 2019 12:53:23 AM

Lasalgaon APMC chairman Jaydutt Holkar said the chairmen had met the district collector to urge the government to take back these decisions in the interests of farmers.

The traders will not be able to keep more than 500 quintals of onions with them due to the stock holding limits.

Chairpersons of all the agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) in Maharashtra’s Nashik district met the district collector on Tuesday with a demand to revoke the ban on onion exports and putting a stock limit to wholesalers to 500 quintal. They said if the government did not revoke these decisions by Saturday, the auctions might come to a halt from October 8.

On Sunday, the central government completely banned the export of onions and also defined limit to the stock that wholesale and retail traders can hold. These decisions were taken to keep prices of the bulb staple. However, due to decreasing production of onion in Maharashtra and Karnataka, prices of onion had spiked.

While onion was trading Rs 3,400-Rs 3,500 per quintal in majority of the wholesale markets, cities retail customers were buying onion at Rs 60-70 per kg.

Farmers staged a blockade on the Mumbai-Agra highway at Umrane and at Vinchur on Nashik-Aurangabad Road and trading at almost all the market committees came to a halt on Monday.

Markets resumed on Tuesday with modal prices ruling between `3,300 and `3,450 per quintal, and arrivals were merely 7,000-8,000 quintal.

“The APMCs have been established with the interest of farmers in mind. In the past few days, the government has taken decisions which are totally against the welfare of farmers. We have requested traders and farmers to continue auctions until October 5. If the government does not revoke its decision by Saturday, then the market committees in Nashik district may not be in a position to continue with the auctions,” Dilip Bankar, chairman, Pimpalgaon APMC, said.

Bankar, present at the meeting of the chairmen and vice chairmen that was held at Pimpalgaon on Tuesday, said farmers had already submitted representations seeking a halt in auctions.

“Traders may already have more than 5,000 quintal with them and therefore will not be ready to come for auctions. Where does the farmer go in this situation?” Bankar asked, adding the government cannot expect auctions to continue in this atmosphere.
“This situation has occurred because of the drought last year and heavy rains that led to a drop in cultivation which in turn has caused reduced supplies.” Bankar said trading would continue till Saturday and a call would be taken if the government does not revoke its decision. The decision might not be in our hands then, he said, warning the government ahead of the Assembly polls.

Lasalgaon APMC chairman Jaydutt Holkar said the chairmen had met the district collector to urge the government to take back these decisions in the interests of farmers.

Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the district including BJP MP from Dindori, Bharati Pawar, wrote to the Union commerce minister and the Union agriculture minister asking the ban to be rolled back. In her letter, the MP has said the decision has caused great discontentment among farmers in Maharashtra. Atmaram Kumbarde, BJP leader and chairman of Chandwad APMC, wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis urging the government to revoke these decisions while stating that this would hurt the party’s prospects in the Assembly polls.

On Monday, traders met at Chandwad and decided to clear their stocks before making new purchases and then meet the district collector of Nashik to get clarity on floating stocks. A second team from the Centre held a meeting with the officials at Lasalgaon on Friday and warned traders against hoarding onions. The team was of the opinion that there were adequate stocks and an artificial shortage was being created by traders for their gain.

Nafed director Nanasaheb Patil, who attended the meeting held on Friday with the Central team, stated intense reactions came in after the government imposed stock limits. The traders will not be able to keep more than 500 quintals of onions with them due to the stock holding limits. Now, since the traders have stopped procuring extra commodities from farmers, they have started their agitations at markets and market committees, including Lasalgaon, Niphad, Satana, Nampur, which were shut on Monday.

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