Facing plummeting onion prices, traders and APMC members from Lasalgaon in Nashik have sought intervention of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in sorting out the issue through various policy measures.
The delegation has demanded that the state government allow increase in export quantities, compensate onion producers or buy additional onions to stop heavy losses to farmers.
It contended that rates of onions have been reducing in the wholesale market drastically even though National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation procures onions at a rate of Rs 700 per quintal.
Jaydatta Holkar, Chairman of Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), Lasalgaon, said that in the current year, an additional quantity of 13.88 lakh metric tonnes of onions have been produced than in the previous year (2014-15).
“Maharashtra has recorded 203.15 Lakh MT onion production out of which 42.80 lakh MT onion is sent to APMC for sale. Last year, it was just 35 lakh MT. This means there is surplus onion production this year and thus prices of onion have dropped drastically,” he said.
“Last year, maximum onion crop was ruined by unseasonal rains and hailstorm. Ultimately prices came down and the Union government had to indirectly ban exports of onion by increasing export tax. Though the decision was taken to control hike in prices of onion in the local market, it impacted our international sales,” Holkar said.
The delegation met Fadnavis recently and demanded that the state government recommend the Centre to compensate onion growers as prices have fallen to Rs 400-700 per quintal.
“We have demanded that the government give us subsidy of Rs 300-400 per quintal as incentives to export onions. NAFED, the nodal agency of onion procurement should procure onion at a rate of Rs 1,500 per quintal and union government should fulfil its assurance to give 50 per cent profit based on production cost to farmers,” Holkar said.
He said the Chief minister has assured the delegation to speak with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh to look into the matter.