Farmers Halt Onion Auction At Lasalgaon Amid Fall In Prices
Workers sort onions at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee wholesale market in Lasalgaon, Maharashtra, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

Farmers Halt Onion Auction At Lasalgaon Amid Fall In Prices

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A day after the Centre banned the export of onions and imposed stock limits for traders, auction at the country's largest wholesale onion market at Lasalgaon in Nashik district was halted after protests by farmers on Monday.

The auction at the Lasalgaon Agriculture Produce Market Committee resumed later in the day, traders said.

Farmers staged demonstrations at the APMC, bringing onion auction to a halt, an official said. Farmers also staged a ‘rasta roko’ on Mumbai-Agra highway at Umrane and at Vincur on Nashik-Aurangabad road.

"The government's decision to ban exports onions and limit onion stocks to up 100 quintals per retailer has made onion producers in Lasalgaon see red. They refused to sell onions in the wholesale market in Lasalgaon on Monday," a farmer said.

An official said onions from six trucks were auctioned on Monday with minimum price being Rs 2,601, maximum at Rs 3,351 and average at Rs 3,065, a drop of Rs 600 in average prices.

Farmers alleged the Centre took the decision to ban exports and impose stock limits with an eye on the Maharashtra Assembly polls scheduled for Oct. 21.

This decision, they said, was taken despite onions expected to arrive from the south of the country as well as Pune, Chakan, Ahmednagar and Nashik in the next three weeks, which in turn would have naturally reined in prices.

Farmer leader Rajendra Dhokale warned of an agitation if cultivators did not get fair price for their onion stocks, hinting that prices could crash drastically during the festival season that began with Navratri.

APMC chairperson Suvarna Jagtap spoke of approaching Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others demanding that the Centre rethink its moves to bring down prices of onions.

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