(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NASHIK: Farmers, traders and Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) officials on Thursday said the central government's decision to include onions in Essential Commodities Act and deleting it from the APMC Act was impractical and also unfortunate.
National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) director Nanasaheb Patil said, "The decision has been taken only taking into consideration consumers and without keeping the interest of farmers in mind. Moreover, the decision to determine the stock holding limit is wrong because onions are a holdable commodity. Farmers store the summer onion crop harvested in April and May and it caters to the market needs until the arrival of the kharif crop by September end. The supply to the market will be affected if the stock holding limit is imposed."
Patil, who is also the chairman of Lasalgaon APMC, added that the decision would affect farmers across the state. "We will soon decide on the issue following discussion with the farmers, traders and APMCs," he added.
Farmers too voiced their unhappiness with the sudden government decision. Balu Kanade, who grows onion through the year, said that in the absence of APMCs, they did not have any option to sell the crop.
Rashmin Tambat, who had brought his stock to the Lasalgaon APMC, questioned why the government had decided to step in when they had just begun getting good rates for the produce. He also questioned the decision to impose a stock limit on the crop that has a longer shelf life. "Why does it become a matter of concern when the price of onions increases? It is only now that the rates of onions have gone up. Also, whom will the farmers sell onions and who will give the payment guarantee after the omission of onions from the APMC," Tambat questioned.
The deletion of onion from the APMC Act will disturb the chains of supply and definitely create a problem, said Nandakumar Daga, president of the Lasalgaon Merchants' Association. "Instead of genuine traders, others will purchase onions from the farmers. The APMC is the major onion market and around 12,000 to 15,000 quintals of onions are auctioned here every day. Now, both buyers and farmers will have to seek identify and find each other. This will have far-reaching effect on both farmers and traders."
A delegation of farmers' leaders, led by the NDA ally Swabhimani Shetkar Sanghatana, will meet the prime minister in New Delhi on July 7 to seek a rollback. "We will stage severe agitations if the central government does not roll back its decision," Govind Pagar, district president of Swabhimani Shetkar Sanghatana.
Some farmers' activists welcomed the government decision but questioned whether it will really benefit the farmers. "I doubt if it will benefit the farmers. Agricultural commodities should be made APMC-free. The opening of markets is essential and farmers should not fear it. The government should be the facilitator and not the controller," Giridhar Patil, farmer activist said.
Voices with pictures
Nanasaheb Patil (chairman of Lasalgaon APMC and director of National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd)
The decision taken by the central government pertaining to pertaining to brining onions under essential commodity act and deleting onions from the APMC Act taken by the central government is impractical and that will affect the interests of farmers.
Nandakumar Daga (president, Lasalgaon Merchants' Association"
The decision taken by the central government pertaining to inclusion of the onions under essential commodities act and deleting it from APMC Act is unfortunate and it has been taken without considering the impacts on farmers, traders and APMCs in future.
Giridhar Patil, a farmer activist
The central government's decision to delete onions from APMC act is right, but it is making hurry. There is only one chain of market i.e Agriculture Produce Market Committees and there is no other private market chain parallel to the APMCs. There is need that the farmer will get the benefits which retailers are getting. Moreover, instead of deciding the stock holding limit, the government must become facilitator to the farmers. "
Govind Pagar, Nashik district president of Swabhimani Shetkar Sanghatana
The decision taken by the central government pertaining to omission of onions from APMC Act and its inclusion essential commodities act is wrong. This will lead to reduction in onion prices. In present scenario, the farmers can't directly sell their commodity as there is no market system or chain parallel to the APMCs.
B Y Holkar, secretary, Lasalgaon APMC
The central government has only announced decision and it is yet to release the notification in this connection. It will be possible to comment on the issue after going through the provisions in the notification.
Rashmin Tambat (onion grower)
The decision of the central government for imposing stock holding limit is wrong. The average price of onions has reached in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 60 then why it become a matter of concern when the prices of onions increase. To whom the farmers will sell their onions or who will take the guarantee of the money of the farmers after the omission of onions from the APMC Act?
Dnyaneshwar Harale (onion grower)
There is no other system parallel to APMCs and whom to sell onions in bulk is a question before us. We have no option if the onions are deleted from APMC Act.
Balu Kanade (onion grower)
The decision of the government of increasing Minimum Export Price (MEP) is wrong. Moreover, the government should not omit onion from APMC Act. We have no other option other than the APMC and there are facilities for the farmers at the APMCs.