Onion trading at Lasalgaon in Nashik district of Maharashtra is set to resume on Tuesday after a gap of 15 days as traders have agreed to the bag (goni) system of sale. Along with Lasalgaon, all the remaining 20-odd Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) in Nashik district will resume auctions without taking commission from farmers. From now on, no open (loose form) auction, which has been the hallmark of Lasalgaon, will take place in Nashik’s APMCs.
When the trading restarts from Tuesday, farmers will have to bring their produce in jute sacks instead of selling loose. This new system of sale is being considered on the lines of the norms of the National Agriculture Market (NAM).
In a letter submitted to the chairman of Lasalgaon APMC, Lasalgaon Merchants Association president Nandkumar Daga said the traders had surrendered their licences to the market committee after the government brought in new rules by denotifying fruits and vegetables from the scope of the APMC. “After a meeting of traders and the officials of Nashik APMCs at Manmad, traders have decided to resume auctions at Lasalgaon and other market committees using bag system for sale, and accordingly, they have urged the market committees to return their trading licences,” Daga said.
Sohanlal Bhandari, president of Nashik District Onion Traders Association, said onion trading has resumed in Nashik district and as per the government directive, the traders are now using the bag system for sale. The traders in Nashik have been protesting against the new rules on the ground that auctions in Nashik have always been done in the loose form unlike other APMCs in the state where the produce is packed and graded in bags or boxes.
Though the traders will not charge commission from farmer, the latter has to bear the expense of bags. No onion will be accepted in loose form and the farmers will have to bring their produce in jute bags, said Jaydutta Holkar, chairman of Lasalgaon APMC. Onion traders have surrendered their licenses and have stopped trading in APMCs from July 9 in protest against the government’s decision to delist fruits and vegetables from the APMC Act and also levy commission on traders, instead of farmers. Around 450-odd traders at Lasalgaon and another 2,000 traders in 20-odd market committees had surrendered their licences to the market committees. Last week, Lasalgaon had floated new advertisements inviting new traders to participate in the auction process. Traders, however, in a meeting on Sunday, decided to get back to business.
Though the farmer is no longer required to pay the commission to traders, he is required to bear the expense of jute bags. Holkar said that even if the commission system has gone, it has now been replaced with the bag system, which would be expensive for farmers. A bag may cost around R70-80 per quintal and this could be an additional burden on them, he said.