Maharashtra govt’s onion grant unlikely to be helpful for farmers

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MUMBAI: The state government’s proposal to give a grant of Rs 100 per quintal to the loss making onion farmers won’t be of much help.

According to industry experts a farmer in Maharashtra spends Rs 845-900 to grow one quintal of onion and currently he is getting a poor market rate of Rs 550-600, making a loss of Rs 300-Rs 400.

The cost of production of onion in the state is one of the highest in the country and the yield is lowest. The farmer would make a loss of Rs 200-300.

This year there has been a surplus onion crop, which has led to reduction in prices, the traders are not giving good prices to the farmers resulting into a lot of unsold produce in the market.

After keeping quite for too long, the state government has finally intervened in the increasing onion crisis and has sent a proposal to the centre on Thursday to give a grant of Rs 100 per quintal to the onion farmer. The total proposal is worth Rs 60 crore, which has to be shared equally by both the state and the centre. If sanctioned the proposal will benefit over 3 lakh farmers in the state .

TOI has been reporting about the onion crisis which has taken massive propositions due to the inaction from the government. More than 12 lakh ton onion is waiting for buyers at APMC markets in Nashik and several lakh tons have rotted due to lack of buyers and poor storage facilities.

“The government’s proposal will not be too effective. Rs 100 subsidy will not help at all. Steps need to be taken to stabilise the market and also look at ways to export the surplus onions,” said Chairman of NAFED, Nanasaheb Patil.
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Jaydutta Holkar, chairman of the Lasalgaon APMC said that the government should announce a grant of atleast Rs 500 to comfort the loss making farmer. Meanwhile, the state government is also exploring ideas to have only onion selling farmers market in the city and also tapping farmers who could pack onion in bags of 2kg and 5 kg and orders could be taken from consumers and direct delivered at their door steps.

“The subsidy is just one step, there are several market intervention that the department is planning to take to help the farmers tide over the crisis, “said a senior official from the marketing department.