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Maharashtra: Farmers’ agitation in Lasalgaon mandi over fall in onion prices

Angered by the continuous fall in onion prices, farmers on Monday stopped the auction of onions at Lasalgaon Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Maharashtra. The price of onion has come down from Rs 2 to Rs 4 per kg, due to which the farmers are angry.

According to The Print, a representative of onion growers said the government should immediately announce an onion subsidy of Rs 1,500 per quintal and buy their produce at Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kg, or else they will auction it at the Lasalgaon APMC in Nashik district. Won’t let it start again.

As soon as the process of auction started on opening of the market on Monday, the minimum price of onion was Rs 200 per quintal, the maximum price was Rs 800 per quintal and the average price was Rs 400-450 per quintal.

After that angry farmers under the leadership of Maharashtra State Kanda Utpadak Sangathan stopped the onion auction and started agitation.

Earlier on Saturday (on February 25), 2,404 quintals of onion reached APMC and its price was minimum Rs 351, maximum Rs 1,231 and average Rs 625 per quintal.

Bharat Dighole, leader of the Maharashtra State Onion Growers Association, said, “The government should immediately announce a subsidy of Rs 1,500 per quintal for onions during the ongoing budget session of the state legislature and replace them with Rs 3, 4, 5 per kg at present.” Onion sold at Rs.15 to Rs.20 per kg should be bought at Rs. If both these demands are not accepted, then onion auction will not start at Lasalgaon APMC at all.

Meanwhile, according to APMC sources, the officials concerned were holding a meeting to resolve the issue.

He said that after discussion with the agitators, the auction could start in the afternoon.

According to Dainik Bhaskar, no solution was found in the meeting. Due to which the meeting proved to be inconclusive, as a result of which the onion auction was stalled on Tuesday as well.

According to the newspaper, business worth Rs 7 crore was stalled in the market committee during these two days. On the other hand, farmers’ organizations are demanding to start the auction of onions immediately. Retail traders have been banned from storing more than two tonnes and wholesale traders more than 25 tonnes.

According to The Print, earlier this month a farmer in Maharashtra’s Solapur district was in for a shock when he realized that he made a profit of just Rs 2.49 for selling his 512 kg onions to a trader in the district .

Rajendra Chavan, a 63-year-old farmer living in Solapur’s Barshi tehsil, had said that his onion produce fetched Rs 1 per kg in Solapur’s market yard and after all deductions, he received this negligible amount as his net profit .