A farmer from Maharashtra’s Solapur was stunned when he got to know that he bagged a profit of merely Rs 2.49 against the sale of his 512 kg onions to a trader in the district.
Rajendra Chavan who lives in Barshi tehsil of Solapur, said his onion yield fetched a price of Rs 1 per kg at the Solapur market yard and after all the deductions he received this paltry sum as his net profit last week.
Chavan said, “I had sent 10 bags of onions weighing more than five quintals to an onion trader in Solapur for sale. But after deducting charges towards loading, transport, labour and others, I received a net profit of just Rs 2.49 from him.” The rate the trader offered to me was Rs 100 per quintal. The overall weight of the crop was 512 kg and the total price he got for the produce was Rs 512, he said.
“After deductions worth Rs 509.51 against labour, weighing, transportation and other charges, I received a net profit of Rs 2.49. This is an insult to me and other onion-growers in the state. If we get such returns, how will we survive?” he asked.
He said the onion farmers need to get a good price for the crop and the affected farmers get compensation. While Chavan claimed that the produce was of good quality, the trader said it was low grade.
“The farmer had brought only 10 bags and the produce was also of low grade. That is why, he got Rs 100 per quintal rate. So after all the deductions, he got Rs 2 as net profit,” the trader said.
He said that the same farmer had received good returns in the recent past by selling more than 400 bags to him.
“This time he brought the remaining produce that was hardly 10 bags and since the prices have gone down, he got this rate,” he said.
Farmers leader and former MP Raju Shetti stated that the onion hitting the market now is a ‘kharif’ produce and cannot be stored for a long time and that is why the shelf life of the product is short.
“This onion needs to be sold in the market immediately and exported out. But due to glut, the prices of onions have nosedived in the market,” he said. He added that this onion is not being purchased by NAFED, so the only option is that the government should make the market available for this ‘kharif’ onion.
“The government’s export and import policy regarding onions is not consistent. We had two permanent markets — Pakistan and Bangladesh, but they preferred buying onions from Iran instead of us due to the inconsistent policy of the government. The third market is Sri Lanka, but everyone knows their situation and no one is taking risks to send their produce,” he said.
He added that the government should buy this onion or give subsidies to farmers.