Onion markets across Maharashtra have been witnessing a slide in both arrival and prices which is causing much distress among growers. Sporadic protests have been staged by onion growers in various parts of the state to highlight the issue. Onion growers have demanded immediate intervention of the state government, but the government is yet to take any decision to improve the situation.
Over the last few weeks, Lasalgaon market in Nashik has seen onion prices hovering between Rs 750-800 per quintal. This despite a lower than average arrival of the bulb in the market. On Friday, the market saw the arrival of 9,500 quintals of the bulb with the modal price hovering at Rs 750 per quintal.
Last year, the modal price of onion on the same day (20/5/15) was Rs 1,100 per quintal and the market had seen 24,295 quintals of the bulb arriving. This slide in price despite a dip in arrival has foxed growers all over.
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A dip in export and increased production in other states have been attributed to the slide. Market insiders have warned of further slide once the rains set in. “The produce which is flooding the market now is mainly from Aurangabad and Ahmednagar. Once farmers from the traditional belt of Nashik, Pune and Dhule offload their produces, chances of prices going down further would increase,” said some traders.
While the slide continues, lack of any concrete effort on part of the government has given rise to resentment among both traders and growers. Last week, senior officials of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board had submitted a report enlisting measures to be taken to increase export, but no decision has been taken yet. Market watchers have proposed delisting onion from the essential commodities list as well as subsidy linked exports to remove the glut.
Onion growers have started protesting in various parts of the state over the low price realisation. In particular, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) had held a sit-in agitation on the Pune-Nashik Road at Chakan to highlight the issue. Santosh Gorade, youth president of SSS, said that they will be intensifying their agitation if the government fails to take quick action.