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Maharashtra Onion Growers Demand Higher Price from NAFED This Year

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Onion bulbs

Onions are in plenty in Maharashtra this year. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), which is seeking to build a buffer stock by purchasing from onion growers, might have to pay a higher price this year, as growers are demanding Rs. 30/kg to sell to NAFED. Earlier, they used to get Rs. 8-10/kg.  

The President of Maharashtra State Onion Growers' Association, Bharat Dighole, has declared that in case NAFED does not agree to buy at the demanded price, the growers will not sell even one kg of onions to them this year.  

According to reports, NAFED bought around one lakh tonnes onions, out of which 75,000 tonnes were from Maharashtra. These onions fetched a price of Rs. 40-50/kg when the market price was at a high.  

Over the last two years, the Center has initiated the building of buffer stocks. This will give double benefits. The procurement will provide higher prices to growers. At the same time, the Government can regulate the price by offloading the stock at a time when prices of bulbs soar.  

In October 2020, onion retail prices had soared to Rs. 100/kg. In this situation, the Government utilized the buffer stock to tame the prices. The Center had banned exports and permitted duty-free imports to regulate prices. This year, the Center is planning to build a 2-lakh-tonne buffer stock.  

Onion growers of the Nashik region inform that the cost of production has shot up to Rs. 70,000 to 80,000 per acre. This is because of high price of seeds, labor, fertilizers, and pesticides. Unseasonal rain has added to the price burden of growers. At present, prices of Rabi onion, which feature a longer shelf life, are between Rs. 950 to 1000 per tonne. This was just Rs. 700 during the same period last year.  

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