Onion prices bring politicians to tears in Maharashtra

Price hike of onion

Onions, a staple in the Indian kitchen, is bringing tears to the common people and trouble to politicians. 

The red bulb was priced at Rs 60 per kg in the last few days, with prices set to go up around Diwali.

The impact of this was witnessed in Lasalgaon in Nashik district, the biggest onion trading hub of Asia, where a section of traders have been boycotting auctions since the last few days.

With the campaign for the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections at its peak, the rocketing prices are a huge concern for the ruling BJP-Sena alliance. It is also an opportunity for Opposition Congress-NCP and farmer's groups to target the government.

Leading commodities and agriculture sector analyst Deepak Chavan,  said that he does not see things changing for the next two months.

"There is a demand supply gap, a shortfall of around 30 %," he said,  adding that drought followed by unusual rain pattern has compounded the situation.

The daily requirement of onion is 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes and 34 to 36 lakh tonnes for the next two-month-period around.

"The import of 2,000 tonnes is insignificant and the export ban does not make practical sense," Chavan told DH.

He also said that between Dassera and Diwali, the consumption of non-vegeterian items goes up, as does the demand of onion.

Meanwhile, former union agriculture minister and NCP founder Sharad Pawar has slammed the Narendra Modi government for its policies on the agriculture sector.

“Many small groups of farmers have joined hands to start protesting the holding limit and the export ban. We are also supporting it. We demand the government withdraw both,” said Hansraj Wadghule, a local leader of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana.

“Excess rainfall and an extended monsoon have led to massive crop damage,” said Suvarna Jagtap, chairperson, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Lasalgaon. The APMC-Lasalgaon is planning to approach prime minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to discuss the issue.

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