Onion producers suspend auctions in Lasalgaon as prices drop

On Monday, onion growers disrupted auctions at the Lasalgaon agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) yard, Asia’s largest onion market, complaining that their prices have fallen by 50 percent in the last few days. Farmers demanded that they should get at least ₹30 per kilogram of their produce.

7980 quintals of onions were grown in the yard of Lasalgaon APMC. The lowest rate was ₹500 and the highest rate was ₹812 per quintal. The modal rate, the most traded rate, was ₹ 1,400 on Monday.

Today, when the market opened, the price was 10-12 AZN for 1 kg. Alarmed farmers took a stage dharna and stopped the auction. “We have to get at least ₹30 per kilogram of onion, otherwise we will campaign against the government. We will stop the auctions at other APMCs in the state,” said Bharat Dighole, president, Maharashtra State Onion Growers Association.

According to him, 1 kg of onions costs 22-25 manats and farmers cannot pay the production costs.

“The state government should give a subsidy of ₹10 per kg to Maharashtra farmers so that they can at least recover their cost of production,” Dighole said.

Farmers say that the average price of onion at APMC was ₹2,900 in the first week of November and farmers were getting at least ₹1,000 for the produce they brought to the market. In the last few days, onion prices have come down to ₹ 500 a quintal and the modal price is at ₹ 1,400.

Farmers alleged that the Center has not fulfilled its promise to help onion growers. Instead, it lowered prices in the retail market by importing onions. According to Maharashtra farmers, the government bought onion from farmers at a low price and distributed it in retail markets to keep the price down.

Onion prices fell to a five-year low last month after a record high harvest. The production of the bulb is estimated at 31.27 million tons (mt). However, higher prices earlier this month encouraged farmers as rains in crops delayed arrivals.

On November 5, the modal price rose to ₹2,551 per quintal before beginning to fall. This decline has now caused farmers to worry.