Dharwad: The onion growers in Dharwad district who were expecting some good income this year after suffering losses for the previous two years are in for disappointment again. The rise in onion prices had raised the hopes of the farmers but their hopes have been dashed with middlemen and traders playing foul.
The consumer is shelling out Rs 50-60 per kg of onion in the market while the middlemen and traders are paying farmers Rs 10-20 per kg. The traders cite low quality of the onion as the reason for the low price they are offering farmers.
The onion growers in Dharwad district have been suffering losses for one or the other reason. While it was low yield last year, this time it is low price. Onion is one of the major agricultural produce in the district. According to officials, onion is cultivated in 21000 hectares in the district and the expected yield was 3.5 lakh tonnes this year. Navalgund, Annigeri and parts of Dharwad taluk which have black soil are the areas where onion is prominently grown.
Due to heavy rains, onion had rotten in some areas and in some other places the farmers had voluntarily removed the onion crop after heavy rains in a bid to use the land for some other crop. Following the crash in the price of onion paid to farmers, the growers in some areas are reluctant to bring the produce to the market as it involves transport cost.
They are expecting the government to bail them out by allowing the purchase of onion under minimum support price scheme. “The middlemen and traders are fleecing farmers. They are threatening farmers that they would not even be able to sell the produce if onion from Pune and other places arrives. The only solution to our problem in government’s market intervention,” said Shrishailgouda Kamatar, a farmer leader.
Responding to the plea, district minister Shankar Patil Munenakopp said the government will come to the rescue of onion growers and a decision of setting up purchase centres will be taken soon at a meeting of officials and farmer leaders.