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Onion farmers detained ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Nashik

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There are around 3.5 lakh onion producing farmers registered with Maharashtra Pyaz Utpadak Kisan Sangathan (Maharashtra State Onion Producer Association). 

There are around 3.5 lakh onion producing farmers registered with Maharashtra Pyaz Utpadak Kisan Sangathan (Maharashtra State Onion Producer Association). 
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nashik, around 50 farmers and Opposition parties from the Maha Vikas Aghadi were detained in different police stations in Nashik. The onion producers and the Opposition had planned to stage a protest against the poor and unstructured decisions taken by the Central government regarding export prices over the last one year.

Farmers were detained since 7 a.m. in their respective tehsils and villages in Nashik district and were released only after 5 p.m.


Editorial | A sob story: On onion exports

There are around 3.5 lakh onion producing farmers registered with Maharashtra Pyaz Utpadak Kisan Sangathan (Maharashtra State Onion Producer Association).

Founder president of the association, Bharat Dighole said, “On August 19, 2023, the Union government had imposed a 40% duty on the export of onions. On October 28, 2023 a new decision was made instead requiring the exporter to pay the government $800 per tonne of onion instead. After that on December 7, 2023, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade passed an order declaring that the onion export policy would be amended to make it free from prohibition till March 31, 2024.”

“However, by March, the election code of conduct was announced, and the DGFT released another statement saying that the export ban continues until further notice. On May 4, 2024, the ban was lifted, though, on select terms and conditions. The exporter must pay $550 per metric tonne to the government now,” he said pointing to the continually shifting policy on the matter.

Maharashtra supplies onion to more than 50 countries, said Dighole and added, “It has been over 9 months and if the Opposition really wanted to help us, they would have shown that support by taking our concerns to the Centre but they did not. NCP leader Sharad Pawar could have easily taken our issues to the Commerce Minister or the Home Minister if he really cared for farmers.”

Onion farmers also said the local media did not cover their concerns when they were detained. “From PM Modi to Sharad Pawar to Uddhav Thackeray were present here but none spoke for us,” Mr. Dighole said.



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