Re 1 For 1,000 Kg Onions: What A Debt-Hit Farmer Made In Maharashtra

Devidas Parbhane sold his 952 kg of onion for Rs 1523.20, at less than Rs 2 a kg.

Nashik: On May 10, Pune farmer Devidas Maruti Parbhane sold almost a 1000 kg of onion at the city’s wholesale market. At the end of his transaction, he had earned Re 1.

Mr Parbhane’s was not a rare distress sale. A bumper crop in Maharashtra has meant that prices have hit rock bottom. For farmers in the state, already struggling with a severe water shortage, it is a nightmare compounded.

Devidas Parbhane, 48, sold his 952 kg of onion for Rs 1523.20, at less than Rs 2 a kg. He spent Rs 1320 on transport, Rs 91.35 on commission, Rs. 77.55 on labour and Rs. 33.30 on other expenses.

Left with a rupee in hand, the distressed farmer said, “The government should help us by waiving off some of our bills.” Mr Parbhane says his losses this season have now mounted to Rs 80,000.

Maharashtra produces about 25 to 30 per cent of the country's onions.
Maharashtra produces about 25 to 30 per cent of the country’s onions.

Farmers who have sold onions at Asia’s largest wholesale market in Nashik have been more fortunate than Mr Parbhane, but not by much. They have managed to get 4 or 4.5 rupees per kilo, with prices dropping by three times since April.

“We should get Rs. 1100-1200 per 100 kg for these onions as we invest Rs. 7-8 per kilo for them. We got only Rs 400-450. We even need to bring in water from others fields to grow them,” said Shankar Tupe, an onion farmer from Nashik.

Maharashtra produces about 25 to 30 per cent of the country’s onions, a staple whose price in the past has been seen to determine election results. Prices have plummeted this year as the state has produced 203 lakh metric tonnes of onions, 13 lakh MT more than the 190 lakh MT produced last year.

To draw the government’s attention to their plight, a delegation of onion traders met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on May 23.

“We have suggested keeping a fixed rate and giving a subsidy of Rs 300 to 400 a quintal so that most of the produce can be exported,” said Jaydatta Holkar who heads Nashik’s Agriculture Produce Market Committee.

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  13. how sad.. the same Indian onions are sold for Rs.250/- per Kg here in london.. wonder where the difference in price goes…

  14. I am quite surprised by the people of India waking up from the 10 year long sleep and asking questions. Dont know what these people were doing during 2004 to 2014? Not sure how everyone suddenly realized that government should take care of the farmers and they should be questioning the government.
    Is this something that has propped up over the last 2 years? Previous governments have dug a hole too big to fill in two years.

    • Just go through increase in MSP of crops from 1998-2016.
      U will soon see the difference. 2004-2014 increase was quite better. For onion also this government is bit more cautious like lot of restrictions on exports.

  15. these are all bcoz of the middle man who does not have a humanity, let them give their margin (some part) to the farmers. since from them only the will lead life. wherein our board/govt will not involve in such activity since they will loose their commission from middle man. this is the fact.

  16. why mr.modi didnt ask this farmer to participate in the big bash ceremony in new delhi. ????
    mr. modi pls wake up the reality in india is something different , dont blame the congress
    for all the things which you have to fix , for which we have voted for you hoping that you will
    change everything , but you seem to be just talking ,talking, and blaming congress, pls stop all
    this and concentrate to eradicate such things we feel very upset .

  17. NDTV and other media channels have time to cover Modi’s 2 year event, Save the tiger programmes, etc but no time for programmes like Save the Farmer (Annadatha), Save Water, etc. Don’t worry in a few years time we all can live on processed foods, imported foods with lots of preservatives, etc. That is the modern healthier option for India isn’t it? Way to go…. kudos to all politicians, millionaires, celebrities, media.

  18. In Goa we have “horticulture” shops, presumably organized by the local government, where the produce is generally sold at lower prices than those prevailing in the market. I also optimistically presume that government procure these items directly from the farmers and that the latter are given a fair deal. If that be the case, then other states would do well to emulate the Goa government.

  19. LOOT is the only word Indians know. LOOT from farmers. LOOT from public. LOOT from Common man buying a small house. LOOT from a pensioner to keep him alive. LOOT from patients. LOOT from everybody. I am gonna make money. Keep my children happy. They will kick me out after some years or I will kick them out. Live with a hypertension, sugar, BP. Spend all my LOOTED money in my medicines and die like a dog one day.. LOOT Te RAHO INDIA..!!!

  20. Gujju and Marwari baniyas have eaten up our nation…. Maybe we do need communism after all to kick out the middle men..

  21. If the state govt. go to the places where the farmers produce are kept by this the farmers can save 100s of Rs. the they are spending on transportation . By doing this the transportation charges of farmers can be saved and also minimum supporting price to be fixed by the state govt. This is a simple method to safe guard the farmers. But who will tie the bell to the pussy.

  22. Unfortunately, no one has time to comment on this article unlike various other subjects….Where are we heading? Poor farmer!

  23. Why government cannot fix the prices, sometimes there will be a bumper crop obviously the prices will come down but not up to the rock bottom. State governments should come in to the rescue of the formers, government should purchase the crop and can distribute in the local market, but no government think of the formers. Now this is time that governments should wake up and think about the farmers, if farmers loose trust on government then that will reflect in elections. Please fix purchase price of commodities immediately. Jay Hind

  24. The same onions are then sold at 20-25 Rs per kg by the dealers, thereby making a killing. These are the people who are responsible for the present state of farmers and not getting enough revenue from their produce make them suicidal. Govt. should have a minimum support price for the farmers who produce & give it to the APMC.

  25. 2 years of successful modi government… kudos…
    We are getting cheap onion … do hell with farmers ??????

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