Rajasthan’s market intervention scheme for onions proves to be damp squib

By Hindustan Times on 14 May 2018 | read

The Rajasthan government’s market intervention scheme (MIS) for purchase of onion from the farmers has proved to be a damp squib as the “fair price” being offered is less than the market price.

The Rajasthan State Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd (RAJFED) has failed to get any response from the farmers for online registration for purchase of onion under MIS.

The government has set up centers in five districts for purchase of onions in Nagaur, Sikar, Jodhpur, Jhunjunu and Jaipur, but not a single purchase has been registered so far.

“One reason could be that the farmers are getting better prices in the market,” Rajfed general manager (commercial) Rajiv Lochan said.

The government is offering Rs 618 per quintal (Rs 6.18 per kg) and farmers are getting upto Rs 600-800 per kg in the mandis. However, the farmers are upset as they say that the input cost is Rs 8-9 per kg (Rs 800-900 per quintal).

“The announcement of purchasing onion by the government was nothing but a sham. As against the input cost of Rs 8-9 per kg, the farmers are getting about Rs 6 per kg in the mandi,” All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) president Amra Ram said.

Sikar district is a hub of onion cultivation in Rajasthan and this year the production is expected to be about 4.50 to 5 lakh metric tonnes as against state’s total output of 12.80 lakh metric tonnes. There are about 50,000 onion growers in the region.

Onion prices rose after last August, with delay in kharif crop arrivals and estimates of lower production in 2017-18 by one million tonne. After peaking in January first week, the prices have fallen since.

The government has extended the date of purchase of garlic under MIS that is being bought at Rs 3,257 per quintal. “The date has been extended to May 18 and will be extended further, if required,” Lochan said.

The government has so far purchased 2,865 metric tonnes garlic as against target of 1.54 lakh metric tonne. This translates into just about 1.8% of the target.

In case of garlic, the MIS was launched on April 26 and government had announced to procure 1.54 lakh metric tonne garlic. It had set up 10 purchase centres and procured garlic at ₹3,257 per quintal or ₹32.57 per kg.

The net area under garlic in Rajasthan has increased from 69,000 hectare to 1.32 lakh hectare and the production has also doubled from 3.77 lakh MT to 7.7 lakh MT this year.

The Hadauti region comprising Kota, Bundi, Jahawar and Baran, accounts for about 90% of the state’s production.

The farmers and farmer organizations in the Hadauti region are now demanding that government must extend the dates for garlic procurement.

The garlic crop had started arriving in the market more than six weeks ago, but the prices crashed due to a bumper production.

Two years back, garlic prices were ruling between ₹ 60 and 90 per kg at the mandis. Farmers have been dejected due to steep fall in the prices.