The ongoing lockdown, which has resulted in the disruption of the supply chain of fresh vegetables, has prodded the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) to create an alternate marketing chain for onions.
In a bid to create a parallel supply chain, the MSAMB has collated an exhaustive list of onion farmers and traders, and circulated the same across the country for markets to deal with directly.
Sunil Pawar, managing director of MSAMB, said the idea was to ensure an alternate market chain is created, which will feed retail markets in this time of crisis. While wholesale fruits and vegetable markets have been kept out of the lockdown, most are either functioning with skeletal staff or have suspended business for the time period. Most of the important onion markets in Nashik have also seen labour migrating to their respective states.
“The list we created has the names and contacts of almost all important farmer groups and traders in the important market,” Pawar said. “This list was circulated across the country with instructions of them being contacted directly in necessary.”
Maharashtra is the country’s largest onion producer, cornering about 34 per cent of the national production. The kitchen staple is transported from markets of Nashik to states like Punjab, West Bengal, and Bihar. The bulb is transported to northern states via railways, while it is transported to southern ones via trucks.
Pawar said the lockdown and the disruption of the supply chain has provided a unique opportunity for farmer groups and farmer producer companies (FPCs) to create an alternative marketing chain. “In case of onions, we are planning to update this list regularly to include more active farmer groups to the list. Once established, this will enable creation of an alternate marketing chain,” he said. For farmers, this means an almost eight to ten per cent increase in realisation, as they do not have to face deduction in terms of market fees. In addition, the creation of an alternate marketing chain will help keep prices stable, especially in times of glut.
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