Nashik Farmers Suffer Losses Worth ₹1,500 Crore Since Onion Export Ban

Nashik Farmers Suffer Losses Worth ₹1,500 Crore Since Onion Export Ban

Farmers, vexed by the decision, emphasise the far-reaching consequences, asserting their determination to remember the impact at the polls

Prashant NikaleUpdated: Monday, January 22, 2024, 03:37 PM IST
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Navi Mumbai: Slump In Onion Prices After Steady Rise In Supply | Representative pic

The Centre's decision to ban onion exports has wreaked havoc on Nashik's farmers, draining ₹1,500 crore from their pockets in just 44 days. Lasalgaon, the largest onion market in Asia, faces a grim scenario, with farmers expressing deep regret over the impact on their livelihoods.

The ban, effective since December 7, has led to a substantial decline in onion prices from ₹40 to ₹14 per kg, causing an average loss of ₹18 per kg for farmers. The Lasalgaon market committee recorded transactions involving 31,695 farmers who sold 4.82 lakh quintals of onions during this period.

The repercussions are felt beyond the agricultural sector, as the entire economy in the region comes to a standstill. Businesses that thrive on the money generated from farmers' transactions are grappling with financial stagnation. The export ban has disrupted the usual cycle, leaving traders and various businesses in the market without income.

The neighbouring Vinchoor Samiti premises have suffered similar losses, highlighting the widespread impact on the eight tehsils where onions are a major crop. With a new onion crop expected in the market shortly, concerns loom over the worsening situation after the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Lok Sabha Elections.

Farmers, vexed by the decision, emphasise the far-reaching consequences, asserting their determination to remember the impact at the polls. Many farmers feel let down by the ruling party's representatives, accusing them of inaction in alleviating the distress faced by onion cultivators.

Rakesh Kanade, an onion seller, voiced the farmers' frustration, declaring their intention to hold the BJP accountable in upcoming elections. The decision, starting with a 40 per cent duty, evolved into imposing maximum retail price (MRP) restrictions and eventually culminated in a complete export ban.

The Centre justified its actions by claiming to protect consumer interests. However, farmers argue that while consumers still pay the old prices, farmers bear the brunt of plummeting market rates. As elections approach, the impact of this decision on political dynamics remains uncertain, with opposition parties expressing strong protests against the export ban.

Amidst political campaigns and the Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, the administration appears unresponsive to the opposition's agitation, leaving farmers and businesses in Nashik grappling with the aftermath of the onion export ban.

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