Maharashtra onion growers to get Rs 387-crore subsidy dues

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Published: August 9, 2019 3:16:43 AM

The government of Maharashtra approved a grant of Rs 387 crore for onion farmers in the state for the crop sold last year during the period when there was a sharp fall in prices.

Maharashtra, Maharashtra onion, government of Maharashtra, onion prices, Onion growersFarmers last year had stored some 11 lakh tonne of onion, of which 7 lakh tonne had remained unsold.

Onion growers in Maharashtra, who were seeking pending dues of the grant given by the state government after prices had crashed in the previous season, are likely to get relief soon.

The government of Maharashtra approved a grant of Rs 387 crore for onion farmers in the state for the crop sold last year during the period when there was a sharp fall in prices.

Farmers last year had stored some 11 lakh tonne of onion, of which 7 lakh tonne had remained unsold. The lack of demand from other states had led to a fall in prices resulting in losses to farmers. The government had then approved a grant of Rs 200 per quintal (up to a maximum of 200 quintal) to onion growers in Maharashtra in December 2018 for the November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018 period.

The state government had extended the subsidy of Rs 200 per quintal for onion farmers who had suffered financial distress due to fall in prices. Farmers who had sold their crop between November 1 and December 15 were eligible for the subsidy, with individual quantity being capped at 200 quintal. The subsidy was later extended till April 15.

The downslide in onion prices last year had placed onion growers in financial distress. The government had then given a grant of Rs 200 per quintal and the subsidy was applied for the onion sold in November, December, January and February.

In the first phase from November, 71,437 onion growers were considered eligible for the grant. The government had allocated Rs 54.14 crore. Of this, Rs 53.73 crore has been disbursed into farmer bank accounts. Significantly, a large quantity of onion was sold in the second phase of February and the government had therefore extended the deadline to March 31 for the subsidy. The government had disbursed Rs 114.48 crore for onions sold between the period November 1, 2018 till December 15, 2018. For the remaining period from December 16, 2018 to February 28, 2019, the government, in the Monsoon session, approved a grant of Rs 387.30 crore. The grant is expected to be disbursed by August 31,2019.

Jaydutt Holkar, chairman, Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), who had approached the government on several occasions to seek immediate relief for farmers, pointed out that of the 17 APMCs in Nashik district, 1,91,111 farmers were still to get the benefit. In Lasalgaon alone, some 30,594 farmers are yet to receive the grant worth Rs 34.44 crore. Around 1.92 lakh onion farmers in Nashik district of Maharashtra are likely to get grant worth Rs 200 crore from the state government by August end. The state government issued a government resolution (GR) in this connection on Wednesday.

In the second phase, some 1.98 lakh applications were received by the district administration. Out of these, 65,284 applications have been processed. Onion prices are currently on the upward trend with modal prices in the range of Rs 1,350 per quintal with arrivals reported at nearly 12,000 quintal. The arrival of onions in the market has dropped with farmers preparing for the kharif season. The farmers who need money for kharif sowing are bringing their produce to the market since onion is fetching good rates.

Holkar said that the new season should be good for onion growers since prices were high. Modal prices of onion on Wednesday were Rs 1,320 per quintal and arrivals were around 19,966 quintal.

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