Onion farmers from the region have once again raised the demand for better prices for their crop from the Union government after Krishna Dongre, a farmer from Nagarsul village in Yeola, set afire his ready-to-harvest crop spread across three acres on Monday, fearing that the crop would not fetch him good rates.
The minimum price at the country's largest wholesale onion market at Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) was recorded at Re 1 per kg or Rs 101 per quintal on February 14, while the average wholesale onion price was recorded at Rs 450 per quintal.
The onion prices have plummeted this year due to a glut in the market since December.
Now, the farmers want the government to intervene and increase export of onions through central agencies. They also want the subsidy to be extended up to 25% on onion export, along with a grant of Rs 1,000 per quintal to farmers.
An official from Lasalgaon APMC said, "Good quality onions are being sold in the range of Rs 400 to Rs 550 per quintal." The onions sold at Rs 101 per quintal or Re 1 per kg at Lasalgaon on Tuesday were of poor quality
The cost of production for growing onions is around Rs 950 per quintal and farmers incur losses if they get price below that. The government has extended 5% subsidy for onion exporters up to March 31, but the average wholesale onion prices have continued decline due to high arrivals.
Nanasaheb Patil, director, National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed), said"The government needs to do maximum export of onions through central agencies like Nafed and Small Farmers' Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). Moreover, there is a need to provide adequate railway wagons to transport maximum onions to various parts of the country," he said.