The price of onions has gone up only due to steep decline in production owing to heavy rain experienced across the country this season and not because of hoarding, claimed to N. S. Palanisamy, former MLA and president of ‘Non-Political Tamil Nadu Agriculturists Association'.
“Crops like onions cannot be hoarded for prolonged periods due to its short shelf life and in India does not have a large cold storage network to hold large volumes of the crop,” he told the reporters here on Saturday.
Mr. Palanisamy was reacting to the Union Finance Minister's statement of planning action against hoarders to bring down the price of onions and a few other vegetables.
Likewise, he also ridiculed the attribution of escalation in onion prices to futures trading by certain segments of the political spectrum. “Futures trading in vegetables like onion and tomato are not possible as they are seasonal crops,” he said.
The government, according to him, could have controlled the price of onions even while the farmers' faced production losses due to rain. If the subsidies and crop incentives were given to the cultivators properly to offset any losses during harvest, it would have saved the situation, he said.
Mr. Palanisamy also alleged that land documents of farmers' holdings to an extent of 135 acres in Iduvai and Poomalur panchayats situated on the outskirts of Tirupur s had been found to be forged recently. The ownership of those holdings had mysteriously gone to the hands of others without the knowledge of the ‘real owners'. “Due to this, owners of the holdings were finding it difficult to obtain crop loans,” he said.
“The Non-Political Tamil Nadu Agriculturists Association will hold an agitation in Coimbatore on February 6 to demand action against those responsible for this falsification of documents,” he said.
The association would be requesting the government to remove some of the stringent criteria like mandatory star ratings in the procurement of motor pump sets.