Onion prices hit two weeks’ high; Pawar slams governments for agricultural policies

MUMBAI: Onion prices soared to two weeks’ high on Wednesday even as Onion growers’ agitation affected the supply in Nashik district, the biggest Onion market of Asia.

Meanwhile, NCP leader Sharad Pawar has slammed the government for its agro policies saying that he had taken bold decisions for the benefit of farmers.

The Onion prices at the benchmark Lasalgoan market, the biggest spot onion selling market of Asia, touched Rs 37.29 per kg as the supply dipped to the year’s low to 137 tonnes.

“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.

“The supply situation has changed quite a bit. There is very little onion left with farmers from the previous harvesting season. Excess rainfall and an extended monsoon have led to massive crop damage,” said Jaydatta Holkar, Chairman, Agricultural Produced Market Committee (APMC), Lasalgaon.

He also stated that the crop quality arriving in the market was poor, “hence onion prices are going up. There is very little opportunity for further price hike from the current level.”

Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, while addressing a poll rally at Balapur near the east Maharashtra city of Akola, accused the BJP-led Central and Maharashtra governments of “not being concerned” about the plight of farmers, whom he appealed to defeat the ruling party in the October 21 Assembly elections.

Pawar noted that the agrarian crisis had deepened in the state during the past five years. He alleged only 31 per cent farmers benefited from the state government’s farm loan waiver scheme.

He also said that he had taken bold decisions for the benefit of farmers while in power.

“We had decided against import of Onions even while the prices in retain markets soared. The then opposition leaders came to us with garlands of onion. But, we didn’t budge. We acted in favour of farmers,” Pawar said.