After bumper harvest, rot fear: Farmers sell onions at ₹2 per kilo
The joy of having produced a bumper onion crop has given way to misery to farmers in Jodhpur who have now been forced to sell their produce at rock-bottom prices.jaipur Updated: May 17, 2017 20:17 IST
The joy of having produced a bumper onion crop has given way to misery to farmers in Jodhpur who have now been forced to sell their produce at rock-bottom prices.
Onions are being sold for as less as ₹2 per kilogram, way below the production cost, giving political ammunition to the opposition Congress, which has accused the ruling party of “behaving” as a “callous spectator” even as “farmers, who produced a bumper crop with their sweat and toil are in tears”.
The scorching summer has created another problem for the farmers who were planning to reap the harvest after a few days. With no storage facility, farmers often leave the crop standing in the field. However, with heat likely to spoil the standing crop, the farmers have been forced to harvest the produce.
This year, farmers in Jodhpur sowed onions in record 24,000 hectares. They harvested more than 3.60 lakh tonnes onions. This bumper harvest has now become a bane for the farmers.
Shyamlal, an onion farmer from Rampura village, is unsure how he will clear the loan he had taken. “Many other farmers are now neck deep in debt, because they cannot even get the production cost. Some farmers are selling onions by the roadside at ₹2 per kg fearing that the produce may get rotten in this heat.”
Gordhan Siyag, another farmer, said there was an immediate need for creating storage facility for the produce.
The farmers are now demanding that their produce be bought by the government at the minimum support price. The state government, however, has yet to take a decision.
Contacted, Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said he recently raised the issue in the Lok Sabha. “The biggest challenge is to keep the onions safe. Efforts will be made to provide relief to farmers, including creating sheds to store onions,” he said.
According to agro trader Daulal Boob, in the past, the government had taken action against traders who stock the onions beyond limit. “This time, the stockists are going slow in procuring the produce,” he said, adding that since there was no facility to store onions in the district, it has to be sold off quickly.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot termed the situation as “unprecedented where onions are left to rot in open, while farmers who produced them face penury”.
“State government must shun its indifferent attitude and immediately announce MSP for onions for the entire state and start procuring,” he said in a tweet.