Farmers strike spikes vegetable prices in Pune
According to the agriculture produce market committee (APMC), Pune, wholesale prices of vegetables are expected to remain inflated by almost 25 per cent for the next three days as supply has decreased drasticallyUpdated: Jun 04, 2018 14:49 IST
The ongoing farmers strike has brought down the vegetable supply to Pune market yard, with only 80 trucks arriving on Sunday as compared to the last week’s count of 150.
According to the agriculture produce market committee (APMC), Pune, wholesale prices of vegetables are expected to remain inflated by almost 25 per cent for the next three days as supply has decreased drastically. The strike has affected the supply of vegetables from surrounding districts, including Ahmednagar Nashik, Satara, Solapur and Kolhapur, according to APMC officials.
The ongoing agitation is likely to intensify further with regards to the threat issued by farmer leaders to cut off vegetable supply from June 7.
According to the market community officials, the price of tomato soared to Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kilogramme against Rs 4 to Rs 6 per kg four days ago in the wholesale market. Similarly, retail prices of onion, capsicum, French beans and cucumber, have also gone up by 50 per cent due to short supplies.
“On Sunday, only 85 trucks carrying vegetables arrived at the agriculture produce market committee, Pune, which resulted in a sharp hike in prices. Owing to the strike, farmers are not ready to send their produce to the market committee,” said Vilas Bhujbal, president of Chhatrapati Shivaji market yard traders' and agents' association, Pune.
At the Pune market committee, prices of tomatoes have increased from the range of Rs 40 to 60 to the range of Rs 200 to Rs 250 per 10 kilogramme, while onion prices increased from Rs 60 to 85 to the range of Rs 100 to 140 per 10 kg.
According to the Pune agriculture produce market committee, 5,000 bags of onion and 3,000 bags of potatoes arrived on Sunday from Gujrat and Agra, while 2,500 bags of tomatoes and five trucks of beans arrived from Pune district and Himachal Pradesh respectively.
“Today, we visited Pune market yard in Pune and most of the vendors complained of receiving less bags of tomatoes, onions and other vegetables. They also said that the rates were more than usual. Generally, we buy carton, which have 25 kgs of tomatoes, for Rs 150 to Rs 180. However, on Sunday, we paid Rs 620 for one carton," said Ramesh Kadam, a vegetable retailer.
According to local vegetable vendors, this is just the beginning and if the strike continues, prices will be twice in the near future. If we have to pay more for vegetables, we ought to charge more, added vendors.
Farmer outfits divided over strike
Various famers’ outfits across the state are divided over the ongoing farmers strike that began on June 1.
While the all India kisan mahasangh (AIKM) called a nationwide farmers strike, established farmers associations, like swabhimani shetkari sanghatana (SSS) and shetkari sanghatana (Raghunath Patil faction), have kept away from the strike.
Raju Shetti, swabhimani shektari sanghatana (SSS) chief and Lok Sabha member of Parliament (MP), has called the strike “government sponsored” and said the protest was unnecessary at this point.
“After a long time, we are hoping for a good monsoon season this year. Hence, we have to keep farmers free for agricultural activities, like ploughing and sowing. The strike is government sponsored as Sandeep Gidde, the coordinator of all India kisan mahasangh, is a contractor of the Maharashtra government and Kakkaji Sharma, convenor of the outfit, is associated with the rashtriya swayamsevak sangh (RSS), then there is no need to ask who is backing this strike,” said Shetti.
According to Shetti, the centralised working committee, comprising leaders of all Opposition parties, decided not to participate in this strike as the talks with the government are at an advanced stage. Demands have already been made to the Centre, asking to convene a special session on the farm issues.
“Farmers representatives, like Ajit Navale, CPI (M) leader and representative of akhil bharatiya kisan sabha, overruled the decision taken by their party leaders,” alleged Shetti. Navale, who led the farmers march from Nashik to Mumbai earlier this year, is among the leading faces behind the ongoing farm agitation in the state.
Another farmers outfit, shetkari sanghatana (Raghunath Patil faction), has also decided not to support the strike. Its leader Raghunath Patil said dudh sanghs were behind the agitation. “It is not fair to call a strike every now and then. Without genuine issues and study, the ongoing strike has just reduced to be a celebration of anniversary of last year’s farmers strike,” Patil said.
Swabhimani shetkari sanghatna’s Raju Shetti and Raghunath Patil had declared they will not participate in the strike. Many farmers are reluctant to join the strike as they feel that they have to suffer economic loss.