Onion import worries Ranipet farmers

Importing onions from Egypt to stabilise its price would affect their livelihood, decried onion farmers in Ranipet district, who are peeved at the government decision.
Onion import worries Ranipet farmers

Vellore

According to A Raja, district president of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association, the government’s move to import onion revealed a lack of application of mind. “When the officials were informed about the heavy rain in the onion-producing states in our neighbourhood, they should have foreseen that prices would skyrocket and should have imported onions then. Importing onions after the issue became serious will result in local produce being affected when it reaches the market after harvest in two months,” he said.
As imported onions cost less, local farmers whose livelihood depends on the crop would find no takers for their produce, he added, recalling similar experience two years ago.
The people are also angry that the authorities have taken steps to sell onions at Rs 45/ kg in Chennai while the price in Vellore is Rs 85. When asked, salespersons at government-run shops said they were selling it at market rate, as these shops are yet to receive the Rs 45/kg onion consignment.
Raja cautioned that similar scenario would prevail with regard to toor dhal, which is now retailing for double its normal price of Rs 40/kg. “In a similar situation two years ago, the farmers lost heavily. We expect the experience to be repeated. Demand will rise because festival season is approaching, which will lead to the price shooting up,” a farmers’ association functionary said on condition of anonymity, adding that private traders were hoarding the produces.
Concerned that the farmers’ ire could cost the party in the ensuing Assembly election, a senior AIADMK functionary said, “Farmers’ votes could swing the DMK way if Food Minister R Kamaraj does not redress their grievances immediately.”

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