After a 10-day gap, auctions in 305 Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) across Maharashtra finally resumed as farmers, who had been staging an agitation, decided to bring their produce to the markets. The core committee of agitating farmers, which met in Nashik on Thursday, had conditionally decided to resume agriculture supplies to the APMCs.
The immediate impact was a sharp reduction in vegetable prices in the markets. At the Nashik APMC, a 20 kg crate of tomato that fetched Rs 200-250 10 days ago, before the strike started, was now selling at Rs 100-150. “We are now afraid that the massive glut in the market, will lead to a massive fall in prices hitting farmers further,” Neelesh Kor, a trader from Nashik APMC said.
Many farmers had been expecting that due to the massive shortage over the past few days they would end up getting decent prices in the market. However, many of them returned disappointed. Before the strike, a bunch of 10 cauliflower heads would sell for Rs 100 to Rs 150 but on Friday, the price was between Rs 40 and Rs 50.
“We are scared of how long these prices will fall. We suffered over the past few days because we could not bring the produce to the market. Now we are suffering as the prices have fallen,” Vishnu Sonawane, a farmer from Dindori, said. “We have started the auction. Farmers suffered quite a bit during the strike as they would not bring the produce to the market. Over the past 10 days, traders were going to farms and picking up the produce. We hope that normalcy will get restored in the next few days,” Jagdish Apsunde, a trader at the Nashik APMC, said.
The core committee of farmers, while deciding to resume agriculture supplies to APMCs, had, however, laid down an ultimatum stating that if the state does not hold a meeting with the committee in the next two days they will hold sit downs before all government offices on June 12 and stage a rail and rasta roko across the state on June 13. The Committee has also stated that from Friday, it will not allow any minister in state government to hold any kind of function in the state.