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Farmers Distress: Overproduction of Onions & Garlic Hits Farmers

Onion prices are typically higher during the rainy season due to a lack of fresh harvest throughout the country. However, average quality old onion prices in Maharashtra, the largest producer, are currently in the range of Rs 9-13/kg.

Shivam Dwivedi
Onion Farmer
Onion Farmer

Farmers growing garlic and onions are losing money due to excess production, low demand, lower exports, and increased production costs caused by excessive rain. Although tomato prices have begun to rise since last week, farmers are concerned about losses caused by rain.

"Wholesale garlic prices have been ruling in the range of Rs 10-40/kg for two months, making it unviable for farmers who have to bear the logistics, packaging, and other costs," said Pravin Kumar Dhamija, a garlic trader from Delhi's Azadpur Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). Farmers in Madhya Pradesh, the largest garlic-growing state, are struggling to recoup their production costs, prompting the state government to form teams to explore markets in other states.

Onion prices are typically higher during the rainy season due to a lack of fresh harvest throughout the country. However, average quality old onion prices in Maharashtra, the largest producer, are currently in the range of Rs 9-13/kg. "This price for the onion stored for five months is lower than the cost of production for farmers because there are qualitative and quantitative losses, as well as carrying costs that the grower must recover," said Ajit Shah, a Mumbai-based onion exporter.

"Slightly higher rabi onion storage, moderate exports due to currency issues in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, subdued domestic demand, good rainfall, and no crop damage in the Hubli belt are the factors keeping onion prices tame," he added. During the monsoon season, Maharashtra is the largest supplier of tomatoes to the rest of the country, with the Pimpalgaon Baswant APMC serving as the trade hub.

"Tomato prices were Rs 10-12/kg until about a week ago. They have improved over the week as a result of fewer arrivals "said Arun More, a Nashik farmer. In August, the year-on-year arrival of tomatoes at the Pimpalgaon market was less than 50%.

Farmers, on the other hand, are facing losses as a result of the expected drop in yield due to 45 days of rain. "Due to the continuous rainfall in the Nashik region, there has been a lot of flower-dropping. I did my first picking last week and received a rate of Rs 20/kg. Even if I can get this rate for all of my future pickings, I may still lose money because my yield per acre will be lower this year "Dilip Dighe, a farmer from Pimpalgaon Baswant village, agreed.

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