Maharashtra: Left With Rs 6 After Selling 2,657 Kg Onions, Angry Farmer Sends Money To CM

10 Dec 2018 7:36 AM GMT
Maharashtra: Left With Rs 6 After Selling 2,657 Kg Onions, Angry Farmer Sends Money To CM
Image Credit: The Indian Express�(Representational)

A glut in the production of onions has contributed to reduced prices which have been prompting farmers to take extreme steps. In yet another incident, Shreyas Abhale a farmer from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district has sent a money order of Rs 6 to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as a mark of protest.

Farmer sends money to CM

Abhale has reportedly said that he had been left with just Rs 6 after selling 2,657kg onions at just over Rs 1 a kilogram. This was after deducting his labour and transport expenses. Angered over his meagre earning, the farmer sent the paltry amount to the chief minister.

“I earned Rs 2,916 when I brought 2,657 kg of onion to Sangamner wholesale market. After making payment of labour charges and transportation charges at Rs 2,910, I was left with just Rs 6,” he told to PTI as reported by India Today. He reportedly spent Rs 2 lakhs for the crops this season and is now worried about clearing his dues. He has reportedly sent the money by a money order.

Recent instances

Sanjay Sathe, a resident of Niphad tehsil in Nashik district had produced 750 kgs of onions this season. Last week, Sathe was offered only Rs 1 per kg at Niphad wholesale market. NDTV reported Sathe as telling PTI that after negotiating, he sold 750 kgs of onions at Rs 1,064. Each kilogram was priced at Rs 1.40.

What he did with the money is what captured the media glare. As a mark of protest, Sathe donated the entire amount of money to the Disaster Relief Fund of the PMO. He had to pay an additional amount of Rs 54 to send it by money order on November 29. “I do not represent any political party. But I am angry because of the government’s apathy towards our woes,” he added.

Similarly, Rajendra Bawake, a resident of Sakuri village in Ahmednagar district has claimed that even after investing Rs 2 lakh and energy into cultivating brinjal, he could only fetch Rs 65,000. The distraught and irate farmer, who was upset with the outcome, uprooted all brinjal plants on Sunday, December 2. Bawake said that he had planted brinjal on two acres of land and laid pipes for drip irrigation. He used fertilisers, pesticides and modern mulching techniques to enhance production which pushed the investment cost to Rs 2 lakh.

He claimed that when he tried to sell his produce at the Nashik and Surat markets, he could only fetch 20 paise per kg, which prompted him to take the step. The farmer had been routinely selling his produce in cartons for the last three or four months but he could not get better returns. He reportedly rears three cows at home and needs money to buy fodder, additionally, he owes dues worth Rs 35,000 to the fertiliser and pesticide suppliers. “I don’t know how I am going to raise that money,” he said.

Farmer woes in different parts of the country

In another similar incident reported from Ahmednagar, a farmer was recorded on video destroying his pomegranate yield after no one bought them even at Rs 10 per kg.

The recent decline in prices of onions has become a reason of distress for India’s farmers. On December 1, farmers held a protest on the Mumbai-Agra National Highway against declining onion prices. Some farmers even tonsured their heads as a mark of protest. While police teams had to rush to the spot to clear traffic jam, the farmers’ concerns continue to persist. They claimed that onion prices were sliding for the last two weeks and the government was unable to stop it. According to The Indian Express, the farmers even submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Sub Divisional Officer. Their demands included procurement of onions by the state government at remunerative prices to make up for the losses.

In Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch mandi, onions were sold for as low as Rs 50 paise per kg which put local farmers in a state of frenzy. Mewalal Patidar, a farmer, reportedly said, “I would like to throw yield on road instead of selling it for peanuts.”

Not just in Maharashtra, but onion farmers in Karnataka’s Belagavi district also staged a similar protest a fortnight ago and even locked the main gate of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) following the sudden decline in prices. Sugarcane farmers in different parts of Karnataka protested where they were demanding minimum support price for cane produce and payment of arrears by factories. The farmers were demanding MSP of Rs 3,000 per tonne.

Two weeks ago, the farmers’ march in New Delhi made headlines as farmers from different parts of the country converged in the national capital to press their demands which included debt relief and remunerative prices for their produce among others.

While activists and some political leaders have slammed the government for laxity in bringing an end to farmer woes in the country, farmers and producers in different parts of the country continue to struggle with a myriad of problems ranging from drought to falling prices.

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