Onion prices which touched a record high earlier this week crashed at the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) at Amaragol here on Friday, resulting in a more than four-hour road blockade by angry farmers.
The prices hovered between Rs. 3,500 and Rs. 5,000 a quintal, and on Friday came down to between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 2,000.
While the merchants’ argument was that the produce was of poor quality and that there had been a sudden decline in the market prices across the country, the farmers wondered how could the same quality onion that fetched Rs. 4,000 and more the previous day was sought to being bought at Rs. 1,500.
The agitated farmers stopped the auctioning process, came out of the APMC yard and blocked the old national highway between Hubli and Dharwad. They placed boulders on the road and blocked the entire stretch. The police couldn’t convince the farmers to withdraw their agitation. Soon, vehicles lined up one behind another leading to traffic jam. The police then began diverting the vehicles.
Meanwhile, an attempt by APMC president Suresh Dasanur to get the auction resumed failed. The farmers said that they would not allow it until they were assured of better prices. Two hours after the road blockade began, the farmers were called for a discussion by Assistant Commissioner of Dharwad Mahesh Karjagi. Traders and brokers also participated in it.
After hearing both sides, Mr. Karjagi asked the merchants to resume the auction, which would be supervised by the APMC secretary, on Saturday. Following this, the farmers withdrew the protest.
‘Prices have fallen’
Bangalore Staff Reporter adds:
Merchants in the Bangalore wholesale market, meanwhile, said the onion prices had come down. Fine quality (dry) onion a quintal was being traded for about Rs. 4,000, compared to about Rs. 4,600 last week.
Onion coming from Ajjampura in Chikmagalur, with high moisture content and short shelf life, was being traded at Rs. 2,800 to Rs. 3,000 a quintal, as against around Rs. 3,200 last week.