Trade in most of the onion markets in Nashik districts remained suspended on Monday as farmers took to the roads to protest again the export ban on the bulb. Protests are expected to intensify in the onion growing areas in the run up to the polls.
On Sunday, the central government had banned the export of onions and also prescribed the amount of stocks traders can hold. Wholesale traders will be able to hold 500 quintals while retail traders are allowed to stock 100 qunitals of the bulb as per the notification. All these measures are in order to cool down the prices of onion in the wholesale and retail markets. This would be the fourth government intervention to correct onion prices this year.
Due to a dip in onion sowing ares in Maharashtra and Karantaka, prices have soared in the last few months. At Lasalgaon’s wholesale market in Niphad taluka of Nashik district the average traded price of the bulb was around Rs 3,500-4,000 per quintal while in cities onion has retailing between Rs 60-70/- per kg.
With Maharashtra and Haryana going to the polls in less than a month, the central government had pressed the alarm bell to control the prices. In June the government had done away with the 10 per cent export subsidy while measures like imposing Minimum Export Price (MEP)of $850/- per tonne , as well as import of onion were brought to control the prices.
On Monday, farmers had taken to the streets to protest against the measures in Satana Kalvan, Malegaon. Dipak Pagar Patil, a farmer leader from Nampur said they were prevented by the police to take out protest marches in view of the model code of conduct. NCP MLA Dipika Chavan has asked for immediate roll back of the measures.