Onions @50 Paisa A Kilo, Farmers Skeptical About Government Intervention

Due to this year's bumper produce, onion had often fetched 50 paisa a kilo - which does not even cover a farmer's investment. (Representational Image)

BHOPAL : The onion protests of Madhya Pradesh has drawn some action from the state government, but the farmers are saying it is a case of “too little, too late”.

Due to this year’s bumper produce, onion had often fetched 50 paisa a kilo – which does not even cover a farmer’s investment. In protest, farmers across parts of the state — Indore, Dewas and Mandsaur — had thrown away their produce.

To come to their aid, over the weekend, the state government opened 71 “onion procurement centres,” buying the crop at Rs 6 a kg. But since Saturday, the centres have seen a sluggish start, with few farmers turning up to sell their produce.

With two consecutive years of drought behind them and spiraling instances of farmers’ suicides, most farmers think the state government waited too long before taking action.

“Had this Centre been set up even 15 days ago, it would have significantly helped us,” said Bheekam Singh, who had come to the centre with his cartload of onions.

The rate being offered, he said, was just enough to cover his input costs. “We have faced a lot of losses this year. Even I had to sell most of my onions at throwaway prices,” he added.

350 km from Bhopal, in Mandsaur’s Deepkheda village, 52-year-old Bhopal Singh Shekhawat questioned the government’s motive.

“Nearly 75 per cent of farmers have already sold their crop at throwaway price,” Mr Shekhawat said. The setting of procurement centres for the remaining 15 to 20 per cent of the crop, he said, is no more than “a formality” to “show that they are with us farmers.”

Mr Shekhawat, who had cultivated onions across his 15 bighas of land, had been waiting for a better price. In the process, half his produce had rotted.

The officials, however, feel the centres have been moderately successful. Over the last 3 days, they claim to have procured almost 1,000 quintals of onions. The turnout, they say, can only go up once the news spreads.

Yogesh Joshi, manager of procurement at cooperative federation  Markfed, which is running the centres, said the turnout was less since there hasn’t been much publicity yet.

“We are getting reports that because of our centres, now even traders are offering a better price. So things are improving for the farmers they are getting better offer for their produce,” he added.

10 COMMENTS

  1. We are getting reports that because of our centres, now even traders are offering a better price. So things are improving for the farmers they are getting better offer for their produce vietnammes

  2. We are getting reports that because of our centres, now even traders are offering a better price. So things are improving for the farmers they are getting better offer for their produce,

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  4. Farmers can arrange a truck and bring to Tamil nadu where the price is Rs.60 / Kg
    even if they sell @ Rs.50 / kg they will be benefited

  5. Why wait for the Govt. What all other political parties to help the farmers , why they cannot fight for this pain of farmers .

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