Thanks to the database that has also been uploaded on the board’s website, state government authorities or traders could directly get in touch with the onion suppliers, he said.
Despite the lockdown, around 550 truckloads of onions from Nashik and other parts of Maharashtra are being transported to other states. This has been possible because of a database of onion suppliers created by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB).
“Our main objective is to provide a alternate marketing platform to farmers and create links between buyers and sellers. The database has also been uploaded on the web portal of the marketing board,” Sunil Pawar, MD, MSAMB, said.
So far, the board had created a database of about 750 onion suppliers that include farmers, farmer groups, exporters, traders, farmer groups and farmer producer companies and this database had been shared with various states so that direct procurement can take place, he said.
Since the lockdown began on March 25 till date, around 5,891 trucks of onions from Nashik have been transported to almost all the states in the country, he said. Pawar said the board plays only the role of a facilitator and the transaction is among the traders.
When asked if the database was created since the functioning of market committees is pretty erratic during the lockdown, Pawar replied that arrival of onions is higher in agriculture produce market committees (APMCs) in March 2020 than March 2019. The database is for providing a direct purchase access to traders of other states as an alternative channel in case arrivals at APMCs dries up.
When the lockdown initially began due to the coronavirus outbreak, there was no clarity on the supply of fruits and vegetables across the county and onion is a commodity that is closely followed by all sections, Chandrashekhar Bari, a senior board official from Nashik said.
“Although things are pretty streamlined now, labour issues had arisen and the functioning of market committees was also erratic.” Thanks to the database that has also been uploaded on the board’s website, state government authorities or traders could directly get in touch with the onion suppliers, he said.
The database is updated every week with addition of new farmers and traders in the list. Around 600 farmers, farmers groups and farmers producer companies are from Nashik district and others are from Pune, Solapur and Ahmednagar districts. The database includes their location, contact numbers and also the quantity of onions they have.
Meghnath Pawar, a farmer from Nashik whose name is part of the database, said since the database is somewhat new, there has been no benefit as yet. However, he said a database of this nature would be useful in the long run.
Sandeep Jawale of the Saptashrungi Farmer Producers Company of Nashik said that some enquiries have been coming in and currently, they are supplying around one quintal on a weekly basis to some families.
Currently, onions arriving in the market are summer crops which have a shelf life of six months. Farmers prefer storing onions with a hope of getting better price.