Stored onions rotting, farmers in trouble

Stored onions rotting, farmers in trouble

NASHIK: As the late Kharif onion crop wasn’t getting a satisfactory price in the market, farmers decided to store summer onions in April and May to avail better prices for the crop. As the summer onion has a shell life of six to seven months, farmers didn’t have to worry. However, due to the incessant rains that continue to lash the district, these stored onions have begun to rot following an increase in the humidity level. Farmers are in a dilemma as the stored onions that were supposed to support them financially proved a loss for them.

Therefore, farmers are demanding the government to provide a subsidy of Rs 200 per quintal and support farmers financially.Even last year's Rabi onion crop witnessed good produce. Therefore, due to abundant supply, the prices didn’t rise much. Also, some farmers store onions to generate capital for sowing in the last stage of the Kharif season and to face financial difficulties. Even after storing onions and reducing supply, prices continued to remain low. In addition, the crop couldn’t survive in the fenced boxes for long this year.

As the government has included onion in the list of essentials, it has become difficult for the farmer to get a good market price for the crop. The farmers are in distress and suffering from financial instability. While the weight of onions stored has decreased by 25 per cent, the rate of spoilage has also increased due to prolonged storage. The quality of onions has degraded, and even NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) has stopped the purchase of onions.

Also, as the onions are fetching a price of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 per quintal, farmers are not even able to recover the storage cost.Looking at the market price for the past two years, farmers grew onion crops in huge quantities. However, as soon as they harvested the onions, the market prices fell. The prices fell drastically this year, thus affecting the farmers’ profit margins. Farmers have no option left but to sell onions at reduced prices. They have demanded Rs 200 per quintal subsidy from the government and promotion of onion exports for better sales.

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