Onion growers protest price crash, dump produce

Onion growers protest price fall by dumping the produce on state highway 57, blocking traffic on Gadag-Ron stretch in Gadag district on Thursday. DH PHOTO

Blaming the Centre's decision to ban onion export for a dip in the prices, the growers in Gadag district and Dharwad on Thursday staged protests dumping the produce on the roads.

At Kotumachagi, the growers blocked the State Highway 57 on Ron-Gadag stretch by dumping the produce on the road. The agitating farmers blocked the busy highway for over an hour, causing grave hardships to the commuters.
They raised slogans against the Union government and alleged that the Centre was favouring the middlemen and the commission agents.

The protesters said that the onion price in the local market has come down drastically due to the export ban. Onion bulbs were sold at Rs 5,000 per quintal a week back. Now, the price has dipped to Rs 1,000 per quintal, the growers rued.

"The growers are finding it difficult to cover costs because of a significant fall in prices. Hence, the Centre should revoke its decision to ban onion export," the protesters demanded.

Addressing the protesters, Gadag TP standing committee president Vidhyadhar Doddamani said, "Onion is sold at Rs 130 per kg in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. There is a huge market for our onion in neighbouring countries. Despite soaring demand for onions grown in north Karnataka districts in these countries, the Centre for some obvious reasons has imposed a ban on onion export. While traders making fortune, the hapless farmers are left to fend for themselves. The Centre is cheating the farmers."

Fall in price and damage caused to the crop by natural calamities have left the growers in knee-deep crisis, farmer leader Mallikarjun Annigeri lamented.
The agitators warned of intensified protests across the state if the elected representatives and the governments - state and the Centre - fail to address the onion growers' woes in the next 10 days.

Similar protests were witnessed in several taluks of Dharwad district

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