A story familiar to British dairy farmers: Indian onion growers are not able to recover minimum production cost
Months after potato farmers in Deesa destroyed potatoes worth crores, farmers in Saurashtra, which produces around 60% of total onion production of the state, are doing the same.
The problem is nationwide and onion prices have dropped by as much as 52%. Some analysts are calling on the government to intervene and provide growers with subsidies so that they can remain afloat.
Onion growers in villages of Mahuva in Bhavnagar, one the highest producers of the vegetable in the state and Talaja in Rajkot are either not harvesting or are destroying the crop for fear of not getting enough prices in the market.
Pravin Kathiriya, a board member in Mahuva Marketing Yard, said, “This is the worst ever scenario for onion growers as they are not even able to recover the minimum production cost of their crops.”
“Farmers have started destroying crops in the fields and avoiding harvest. They have already spent a lot of money on production. Now, they do not have money to take the onions to the market,” said Bharatsinh Wala, a farmer in Taredi village of Mahuva taluka.
I. Haq, former chairman of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices suspects market manipulation by big market players, traders in Nashik (India’s biggest onion market) who work in a cartel.
NewsXTV reports that it is hoped that prices will rise as the government has lifted an export ban on onions imposed in September.