Asia’s biggest ‘onion market’ closed amid protest against tariff hike

Asia’s biggest ‘onion market’ closed amid protest against tariff hike

Government of India has imposed a 40 percent duty on onion exports to ensure stability in the domestic market. However, the farmers of the country are angry with this decision. Farmers of Maharashtra are protesting against this decision of the government. As a result, almost all the wholesale markets, including Lasalgaon, the largest onion wholesale market in Asia, were closed.

According to various local media reports, sale of onion was stopped in most of the wholesale markets in Maharashtra on Tuesday. The strike was called by the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (AIMC), an alliance of farmers and wholesalers of agricultural products in India. But whether the farmers have called off the strike or not – it is not known till the writing of the report.

Earlier, on August 19, the central government of India decided to increase the export duty of onion by 40 percent. In a related government notification, it is said that this increased duty will be effective till December 31.
Farmers participating in the strike which started from Sunday said that the government’s decision will mainly benefit big farmers and traders. On the other hand, the medium and marginal farmers will have to bear heavy losses. Because, due to the imposition of export duty, almost all of the onion produced will be sold in the domestic market. While large farmers and artisans can store onions in cold storage, most of the medium and marginal farmers do not have that opportunity.

Farmers also said that this situation happened last year as well. The government had announced to buy onions from farmers at Rs 40 per kg; But that advantage was enjoyed by the big farmers. Many small farmers had to sell onions at Rs 18 to 20 per kg. Now the increase in export duty will naturally reduce onion exports. This will also reduce the price of onion in the domestic market. The profit of many people is far away, the cost of cultivation may not rise.

Meanwhile, India’s Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said in a press conference on the news of the strike on Tuesday afternoon that a gang is spreading rumors to create political unrest. Request to Farmers – Please don’t listen to rumours. In the current season, the government has decided to buy onion from farmers at Rs 2,410 per quintal. This price is ‘historical’. Because onions have never been bought from farmers at such a price before. So farmers have no reason to panic.

The minister said that this procurement process will be conducted through the two organizations National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) and National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) under the Ministry of Commerce.

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