The state government’s decision to knock the central government’s door to pay for subsidy to onion growers seems to little too late. Jaydutt Holkar, chairman of the Lasalgaon Market Committee, said the subsidy will translate to the payment of just Re 1 per kg to the farmers which will not even cover the processing cost for them.
Minister of Cooperation Subhash Deshmukh said given the free fall of onion prices in the markets, the state government has sent a proposal of paying Rs 100 per quintal to farmers who sell their produce. “We also have proposed to pay Rs 10 per kg for onion exports and want to export out 25 lakh tonne from the country,” he said. Deshmukh hoped that this move will help in stabilising the price of onion in the state.
On Friday, the modal price of onion at Lasalgaon market in Nashik was Rs 600 per quintal and 17,500 quintals of the produce had arrived in the market. On August 26, 2015, the same market had seen arrival of 2,500 quintals of the bulb and the modal price was Rs 4,850 per quintal. This translates into a drop of over 87 per cent in the price of the produce. Onion prices have been on the wane for the last eight months with over production and dipping exports slashing the prices.
The current subsidy pattern promised by the government, said Holkar, would translate into just Re 1 per kg for the grower. “Back in 2008, the state government had announced a similar subsidy but eight years down the line, the subsidy amount should be increased,” he aid. The grower would have to pay more in order to complete the paper work for the grant, Holkar said.
This would be the second initiative by the state government to control the free fall of onion prices. At least a fortnight ago, the government had announced that both the central and state governments would wade in to buy onions at Lasalgaon. That move too failed to produce any permanent solution as the markets remained subdued.