Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday said he had asked the Union government to increase the number of procurement centres for onions.
The CM's statement comes amid protests by farmers and traders against the August 19 decision of the Centre to impose 40 per cent export duty on onions. Asserting that his government supported onion farmers, Shinde, in a statement, said, "We have requested the Union agriculture and commerce ministries to increase the number of procurement centres."
"At present procurement is being done at 13 centres set up by NAFED. So far, 500 metric tonne onion had been procured. Considering the quantity of onion with farmers we have requested that the number be increased," Shinde said. The Centre had recently announced it would purchase 2 lakh metric tonnes of onions at Rs 2,410 per quintal and had set up special procurement centres in Nashik and Ahmednagar.
The Union government on August 19 imposed 40 per cent duty on the export of onions to increase domestic availability amid signs of rising prices and in view of the upcoming festival season. Farmers have claimed the move will create a glut in the domestic market, leading to crash in prices and heavy losses to cultivators.
Auctions in the APMCs in Nashik, including in Lasalgaon, which is the largest wholesale market in India of the kitchen staple, have been affected since Monday, while farmers have also been protesting on the highway seeking scrapping of the export duty decision.