Anantapur: Onion farmers have been incurring huge losses due to the heavy fluctuation in the prices. A quintal of onion now costs Rs 700 against Rs 2,000 in the Kurnool market just four days ago. In the retail market, onions are being sold at about Rs 20-a-kg, against Rs 100 two months ago.
Poor market facilities and the obscure nature of the markets where middlemen were pocketing hefty profit after farming syndicates are some of the reasons. The situation is deteriorating every year bringing worry to farmers and consumers.
Most Rayalaseema districts have a suitable climate to grow onions, over 50,000 acre are under the crop this year. Farmers had hoped attractive returns following the stable market conditions at all parts of the country.
Given their high price two months ago, farmers expected good profits. The sudden fall in prices has resulted in heavy losses.
Mr K. Ramappa from Atmakur in Kalyana-durg of Anantapur district went to sell 30 quintals of onions at the Kurnool market.
"I hired a mini lorry and travelled about 270 km to Kurnool from my village but the buyers were offering just `700 a quintal," he said and added this would not be sufficient to even pay the interest on loans.
With poor market facilities in Anantapur, Kadapa and nearby parts, farmers had no option except to go to Kurnool or sell it to middlemen.
Farmers say that they could get minimum profits if a quintal onion would be sold at Rs 1,500 a quintal.
Better technology and scientific methods of agriculture can help fill this deficit, farmers' association leader K. Anandaranga Reddy observed and added despite having so many agriculture universities, it is hard to believe that research has not come to the aid of the farmers.
Primarily, inability to preserve the crop for non-harvesting season is the root cause of the problem every season. He demanded government should purchase it by offering minimum support price.
Market analysts say good production in Maharashtra and also import from Egypt would impact prices further....