Upset at low price, MP farmer sets dozens of kilos of garlic on fire
- A video of the incident circulating on social media showed people standing around the burning heap of garlic and shouting patriotic slogans.
A farmer set fire to dozens of kilograms of garlic at a farm produce market in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur after his harvest failed to fetch what he thought was a fair price.
Shankar Singh, a farmer from Mahidpur in Ujjain, was offered around ₹1,400 per 100kg for his garlic crop at an auction in Mandsaur Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti on Saturday because the quality was poor, market inspector Jagdish Babar said on Sunday.
Over 8,000 sacks of garlic arrived at the market on Saturday, which were sold between ₹1,000 and ₹12,000 per 100kg, depending on the quality, he said.
“Angry that his crop fetched such a low rate, the farmer set some 50-60kg of garlic on fire,” Babar said. Average quality garlic was sold between ₹2,500 and ₹5,500 per 100kg, the market official said.
Singh, a resident of Deoli village in Ujjain, however, said he burnt nearly 150kg of garlic of the 200kg that he took to the market. “I invested nearly ₹30,000 in garlic cultivation, but I was only getting ₹2,000 after the auction,” he said, adding that he did not have the money to take back the produce and store it.
“I do not want any bonus from the government, just the right price for my crop,” Singh said.
A video of the incident circulating on social media showed people standing around the burning heap of garlic and shouting patriotic slogans.
“The rate of garlic, which had been increased to ₹20,000 per quintal (100kg) a few months ago, has now decreased to ₹1,400 to ₹12,000 as per the quality of the garlic,” market secretary Parvat Singh Sisodiya said.
“But nothing happened on Saturday to upset the farmers so much,” Sisodiya said. He filed a complaint with Yashodharman police, alleging that the incident was planned.
“Police are investigating as mandi secretary filed a complaint with the Yashodharman police station,” Mandsaur superintendent of police Sunil Kumar Pandey said.
The state government should pay heed to the incident as “Mandsaur was a centre of farmers protest in 2017,” a local farmer leader said.
“Mandsaur is stated to be one of the biggest mandis in the state and farmers from neighbouring districts sell their produce here. Farmers usually get a good price for their garlic, but now they are facing difficulties in even getting the cost price,” said Paramjeet Singh. “The state government should pay attention to it because Mandsaur was a centre of farmers protest in 2017, which later turned violent and claimed lives of six farmers.”
He was referring to the farmers’ agitation that began from Mandsaur produce market in 2017, where farmers sought better prices for their produce. Within days, the protests turned violent and six farmers died.
“We came to know about the incident and will take action accordingly,” said Bharat Singh Kushwaha, the state’s horticulture minister. “We will ensure that farmers do not face any loss.”