Nashik farmers protest Centre’s ban on onion exports
Before the export ban circular, the average rate in the Lasalgaon APMC was Rs 2,500 per quintal. After the Centre’s decision, rates have crashed to Rs 500 per quintal.Updated: Sep 16, 2020 16:22 IST
PUNE: The Centre’s decision to ban export of onion has angered farmers and traders from Nashik and other districts in western Maharashtra with growers resorting to agitation at Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs).
According to Suvarna Jagtap, chairman, Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee, the rates of the commodity came down at Lasalgaon, home to among the largest onion markets in the country, as farmers and traders held protest on Tuesday.
“Before the export ban circular, the average rate in the Lasalgaon APMC was Rs 2,500 per quintal. After the Centre’s decision, rates have crashed to Rs 500 per quintal. The farmers and traders have warned that the market will remain closed on Wednesday if the central government does not withdraw the decision,” said Jagtap.
Protests were also held in other parts of Maharashtra, including Mungse, Pimpalgaon, Nampur and Umrane markets along with Pandharpur in Solapur where farmers stalled auctions. The onion growers from Nashik blocked the Mumbai-Agra Highway.
Jagtap raised the question that if the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) had the stock of 1 lakh metric quintal, instead of export ban, they can bring these stocks in the market to control the prices.
On Monday, rates were Rs 1,100 per quintal on the minimum side and Rs 3,209 on the higher end with Rs 2,950 as an average. However, the decision to ban exports brought down the price to Rs 2,700 per quintal hours later. The Union government on Monday banned the export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect, a move aimed at increasing availability and checking price of the commodity in the domestic market.
The decision invited sharp political reactions with the Congress and the NCP, demanding withdrawal of ban.
Maharashtra Congress unit chief and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat said, “Just as onions had started getting a good price, Modi government has suddenly banned exports, which is injustice to the farmers. The ban should be immediately reversed. Against this unjust decision taken by the central government, Congress party will on Wednesday, September 16, hold statewide protest.”
NCP chief and former Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar met Commerce minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi. “The central government has abruptly announced a ban on #onionexports. This has led to strong reactions from the onion growing belt in Maharashtra & therefore the representatives of various political parties contacted & requested me to convey their demands to Central Government. To address this issue, I met Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri. Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) today and apprised him of the plight of onion growers. I pointed out to him that these onion growers are mainly small land holders and Jirait farmers,” Pawar said in series of tweets.
Nampur APMC chairman in Nashik district Sanjay Bhamare who is also Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nashik district vice-president said, “Farmers and traders did the agitations on Tuesday. After the central government’s decision on Monday, despite the auction, traders rejected the purchase of the onion. It happened to almost all the APMC.”