Reacting strongly to the export ban on onions imposed by the central government on Friday, farmers in Nashik district refused to sell their produce and closed down the transactions in the wholesale markets for an indefinite period.
The agricultural produce market committees in the district and the farmers were visibly upset and angry. Markets were closed on Friday after hearing of the decision. Rasta roko was held at Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon Baswant, the two largest wholesale markets of onion in Asia.
At Kalwan, farmers courted arrest in protest of the decision. A meeting of all the APMC chairmen was held at Pimpalgaon Baswant on Saturday, where in it was decided to support the farmers and keep the markets closed till the ban was lifted.
“This is an absolute unjust decision, which is very detrimental to the interests of the farmers. Onion farmers have to go through many upheavals. With the present decision, the farmers are enraged.
The APMCs will stand by them and decide on the direction for agitation on this issue. The ban should be revoked”, said chairman Pimpalgaon Baswant APMC, and ex-MLA Dilip Banker.
Banker said, “Who gave the right to the government to impose the ban? Farmers do not get any assistance or aid for cultivating onions. They do not get a minimum sale price nor onion is considered an essential commodity. Then how can the government take a decision in this regard?”
Expressing disgust on the decision, Lasalgaon APMC chairman Jaydutta Holkar said, “This decision is bound to create anger. One can understand the pretensions for taking the ban decision at this time, when the market is barely stable. On Friday, after hearing the decision, the farmers were so disappointed that 500-600 tractors returned home without attempting auction. This has never happened in the Lasalgaon APMC before.”