Maharashtra : Farmers Suffering as Onion Prices Plummet; Calls for E-Auction to Save Them

Maharashtra : Farmers Suffering as Onion Prices Plummet; Calls for E-Auction to Save Them

Maharashtra : Farmers Suffering as Onion Prices Plummet; Calls for E-Auction to Save Them

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Onion farmers in the state are experiencing significant financial losses due to the plummeting prices of onions in the market. To address this issue, a committee led by former Marketing Director Sunil Pawar has recommended the initiation of e-auctions for onions in all market committees across the state, aiming to secure competitive prices for farmers and prevent further losses.

During the onion harvest season, a surplus of onions floods the market committees in onion-producing districts. Lacking storage facilities, farmers are compelled to sell their harvest immediately, often at prices below their production costs, to avoid spoilage.

The Sunil Pawar Committee emphasizes the urgency of implementing the e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) or e-trading scheme initiated by the central government. This would facilitate transparent auctions and direct deposit of sales proceeds into farmers’ bank accounts, mitigating the exploitation of farmers by traders.

Presently, e-NAM transactions are operational in 118 market committees in the state. Expanding this system to include onion transactions would increase demand nationwide, stabilize prices, and ensure fair competition.

Moreover, the committee urges the central government to reassess the onion export policy, especially during harvest seasons, to prevent surplus onions from rotting and explore opportunities for export to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. However, concerns regarding payment security in the face of economic instability in recipient countries need to be addressed.

Additionally, the committee recommends incentivizing onion processing industries to stimulate domestic sales and elevate prices, providing relief to farmers. Chairman Kailas Limbhore and Secretary Balasaheb Dhandre of the Village Agricultural Produce Market Committee underscore the importance of implementing these recommendations to support onion farmers and stabilize the market.

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