Farmers plan another protest in Rajasthan as onion prices crash
The farmers will protest in Sikar on March 22.jaipur Updated: Mar 20, 2018 20:16 IST
Farmers in Sikar district are again up in arms against the Rajasthan government after crash in onion prices with rising arrivals of the produce, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) leaders said.
AIKS, the CPI(M)-affiliated farmers’ organisation, plans a demonstration at the Sikar collectorate and on mandi premises on March 22 to demand the government’s intervention.
AIKS led a farmers’ agitation in Sikar in September last year. The farmers demanded crop loan waiver and purchase of crops at minimum support price, among others. The state government later waived farm loans up to Rs 50,000, and started the process to procure crops at MSP.
Sikar district is a hub of onion cultivation in Rajasthan and this year the production is expected to be about 4.50 to 5 lakh metric tonnes as against state’s total output of 12.80 lakh metric tonnes. There are about 50,000 onion growers in the region.
With farmers not getting reasonable prices for onion, many of them have dumped the produce at Sikar mandi as they await buyers, AIKS leaders said.
“As against the price of Rs 10-12 per kg two weeks ago, the farmers are now getting Rs 3-4 per kg at the krishi upaj mandi,” AIKS leader Amra Ram said. “At times, there are no buyers at even these prices. The input cost for growing onions is about Rs 8 per kg.”
Officials said prices crash whenever there is a glut in the market and will pick up soon. “This year the onion cultivation area in Sikar district is estimated at 13,000 to 14,000 hectares while the yield is 350 quintals per hectare. The prices crash whenever there is a glut, but will recover when the supply to other states pick up,” said B S Yadav, Sikar assistant director, horticulture.
Onion production in Rajasthan in 2017-18 has been estimated at 1.28 million tonnes. The state contributes about 6% of India’s onion production estimated at 21.4 million tonnes in 2017-18.
“Only a few days ago, onions were selling at Rs 10 kg and then fell to Rs 7, and now to Rs 5. We are not able to recover our input cost that is about Rs 8 per kg,” said Satyajit Bithare, a farmer in Rasidpura village.
The government’s move to build an exclusive onion mandi at Rasidpura village in Sikar has been delayed. The other major onion hub in the state is Nagaur where the onion prices have also crashed.
Prices at Maharashtra’s Lasalgaon mandi near Nashik, have also crashed with rising arrivals, but are ruling higher than what the farmers are getting in Sikar.
Prices rose after last August, with delay in kharif crop arrivals and estimates of lower production in 2017-18 by one million tonne. After peaking in January first week, the prices have fallen since.