Surge in onion prices: APMCs in Nashik dist shut; farmers stage protest against stock holding limits
On Monday, almost all market committees in Nashik district were shut and farmers staged a protest at Umrane near Malegaon against the government’s decision to ban the export of onions and impose stock holding limits.
Stock holding limits makes it illegal for traders to store the item beyond federally fixed quantities (500 quintals). Hence, traders in Nashik stopped purchasing onions more than the federally fixed quantities from the agricultural produce market committees (APMC) in the district on Sunday, in turn affecting the farmers.
On Monday, farmers staged a protest on the highway and tried to stop vehicles.
The central government banned the export of onions from India to control the rising prices of the commodity in the domestic markets. However, experts are of the view that the government’s stock holding decision will increase inflation in onion rates.
Nanasaheb Patil, director, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, said, “The traders will not be able to keep more than 500 quintals of onions with them due to the stock holding limits. Now, since the traders have stopped procuring extra commodities from farmers, they have started their agitations at markets and market committees, including Lasalgaon, Niphad, Satana, Nampur, which were shut on Monday,” added Patil.
Patil added, “As the model code of conduct has been implemented ahead of the upcoming assembly elections, the government is not ready to interfere in the matter and civic officials are turning a blind eye to the issue. I am trying to get in touch with the district collector and will request him to conduct a joint meeting with the farmers and traders.”
Raju Shetti, Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana leader, said, “This government did not understand the issue of rising onion prices and did not think from the perspective of the farmers. The government panicked and has taken the stock holding decision in a hurry,” said Shetti.
“Banning of exports is a wrong decision and it will not help to bring down the prices of onions,” added Shetti.
A trader on the condition of anonymity said, “If I purchase more than 500 quintals of onion from farmers, as per the law, it is a crime. At the same time, the demand for onions is more than 500 quintals from traders who are some other locations.”
Banning of exports is okay, but the stock holding decision is critical for carrying out business, he added.