With the total output of onion crop estimated to be 203 lakh tonnes this year , the biggest wholesale market of onions in Marathawada, Lasur is already facing the extreme consequences where the onions are auctioned at a rock-bottom price of 50 paise a kg.
The better quality produce is at no better condition with rs. 500-600 per 100 kg. In Lasalgaon, the country’s largest wholesale market for onions the prices dropped at sky-rocketing pace to rs.720 per quintal from 750 per quintal the very previous day.
Ravindra Madhikar, an onion producer from Aurangabad explains the sorry state ,”I used to wonder why farmers take the drastic decision of ending their lives. But after Wednesday’s deal, I am also feeling suicidal,”. The drastic drop in prices forced the onion producer to earn just a minimal amount of rs.175 for over 450 kg onions in Lasur market.
Reasons for Price drop:
- The onion produce increased this year to 203 lakh tonnes compared to the previous year , when it was 189.2 lakh tonnes.
- The area under cultivation also saw an increase from 11.73 hectares to 12 hectares .
- Support from government for crops is much lesser for onions than wheat and rice .
- It is a dichotomy that when supply is degrading and the prices soar up the government buys ample of crop to balance the prices for consumers in the market thereby ruling out any chance for the farmer to earn sweet amount of money. In 2015 , government bought as much as 1000 tonnes of onions to control the rising prices of onions ( which went up to rs.80-100 per kg).
- Many farmers due to lack of storage facilities fail to maintain stock and others spend 50k to 80k on storage .”We have not been able to recover our expenses” Madhikar said.
- Traders benefit from such disastrous situations of farmers when they buy huge amount of crop and sell them later at self decided prices all because they possess the advantage of necessary storage facilities.
- Many farmers change their cultivation pattern by switching between crops . For eg. many have switched from sugarcane to onion due to drought and now onion shows up with pretty much same results with even less earning.
Duties of government to control the situation
- The government must take on the strategy of traders and should buy crops in considerable quantity from farmers and release them at later stages .”The government should buy from farmers through National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Fedration of India Limited,” said farmers’ leader Jayaji Suryawanshi.
- According to Ajay Jakhar, chairman of the Bharatiya Krishak Samaj, a lobby group for farmers: “Farmers do not have the capacity to store their crop. The government should purchase 5-10% of their crop to stabilise the market, and stop the price from falling below the cost of production for farmers. After a few months, the government can sell this crop in the market, and distribute the benefit among the farmers.”
- Moreover government can facilitate storage of crops for the farmers in situations of abundance in supply.If the government helps in storing of crops then it might slacken the agony of farmers.
BJP regional spokesperson Shirish Boralkar said that the government has announced to buy 15000 tonnes of onions to deal the soaring prices.
The Logical Indian Community requests the Centre to act upon the situation to its very soon to relieve the farmers from their suffering by acquiring appropriate measures .