Bhawanipatna: After a good harvest of onions this year, farmers in Kalahandi district now find it difficult to get proper price for their produce, a report said.
According to sources, over 50 per cent of the produce has been harvested in the district. In the absence of adequate cold storages here, farmers are compelled to resort to distress sale of the produce to Chhattisgarh traders. They sell it for as low as Rs5 to Rs 8 per kg.
It is known that traders of the neighbouring state have eyed onion farmers. Profiteering traders directly visit farmlands and purchase the produce from there. Allegedly, the district administration has made no arrangements for their marketing.
Like previous years, they do not want their hard-earned produce to perish at home. Now, Kalahandi farmers are in a fix as to how to repay their loans in such a situation. Several blocks in the district such as Dharmagarh, Golamunda, Narla, Kesinga and Bhawanipatna wherein onion is grown aplenty have good production this year, farmers said.
Even as onion was cultivated in 2,485 hectares in the district and the harvest target was set at 38,000 metric tonnes last year, the same amount of production is also expected this year.
At the state government level, there is a provision to provide at least cold storage facility in every region as well as to extend loans of Rs 1,80,000 to local farmers, on 50 per cent subsidy for construction of cold storage houses.
However, in such cases, the farmers have to construct a storage house by meeting the expenses from their own pockets which would be reimbursed in phases after departmental verification. Local farmers find this scheme troublesome as they have poor fiscal standing and are unable to invest huge amounts till they are paid back.
If the state government becomes liberal on norms, farmers would be capable to construct storage houses. Even the government should make necessary arrangements for cold storages so that the demand for onions in Kalahandi district can be met locally, the farmers sighed.
“Due to untoward hike in prices of onions this year, farmers in the district were compelled to purchase the tuber at prices between Rs 100 and Rs 150 per kg. Now, the price of their own produce has fallen to Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kg,” farmers said.
Notably, the demand is such that around 1,500 metric tonnes of onions is brought to the state every day. As our state depends on other states like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh for onions, our own production in Kalahandi is sold under distress to Chhattisgarh traders.