Karnataka

Farmers’ strike leads to hoarding, speculation in onion trade

Dealers caution that prices will shoot up in the coming two days if strike is not called off

Fearing that the ongoing farmers’ strike in Maharashtra will hit supplies, traders in Karnataka have started hoarding the produce, leading to sudden escalation in prices in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee. Supplies and prices are expected to take a further hit if the strike continues.

Ravi Kumar of Bangalore Potato and Onion Traders’ Association said the arrivals of onions to the city has not been affected yet. “On Monday, there were 290 trucks. But, the price, which was trading in the range of ₹800 to ₹1,000, two days ago, has now shot up to ₹1,000-₹1,200. If the strike continues, the arrivals are likely to be affected and the prices will rise,” he said.

A senior procurement official from a prominent retail chain in Bengaluru said onions are also supplied from Madhya Pradesh, which was helping maintain a balance in supply. However, farmers are on strike in Madhya Pradesh too, leading to fears of supply deficit. He said the cost increased by ₹5 in the last four days — up from ₹8 per kilo to ₹12-₹13 per kilo now.

However, the supply onions to Belagavi had fallen by more than 60%, while that of potatoes had fallen by over 90%, sources in Belagavi wholesale market told The Hindu. Every week, the agriculture produce marketing committee wholesale market yard receives around 7,000 tonnes of onions and potatoes each. But, since the strike began on June 1, arrivals have shrunk to around 3,000 tonnes of onion and just 800 tonnes of potato,” said M.B. Srinivas, secretary of the committee and joint director of the agriculture marketing department. The price of both products have seen marginal increase in Belagavi.

However, traders in Bengaluru and Belagavi caution that price of onions are set to shoot up in the coming two days, if the strike is not called off and the movement of farm goods across the border is not normalised. The State is, at present, heavily dependent on Maharashtra as there was no supply of onions within the region. “Sowing should have started in Challakere by now. However, it has been delayed by over a month owing to drought. The crop is only expected by late September in the State,” Ravi Kumar said.

Vegetable traders in Belagavi hit badly

The farmers’ strike in Maharashtra has also affected the market for vegetables grown in Belagavi district.

Belagavi supplies fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage and other greens to the neighbouring State. However, the trucks are being denied entry into the State, leading to damage to perishable goods.

“On an average, traders are suffering losses of around ₹30 to ₹40 lakh per day,” said Ashraf Mian, a wholesale vegetable trader. He estimates that around 10 to 12 truckloads of vegetables of around 8 tonnes each are shipped to Maharashtra from Belagavi city alone daily. Several loads of fresh vegetables were damaged when trucks were denied entry to markets in Maharashtra. The strike is strongest in Nashik, Ahmednagar and surrounding districts. But, our goods are not being accepted even in districts like Nanded, Latur and Sangli, he said.

Most shops remained closed at the yard on Monday.

Strike boosts KMF sales in Kalaburagi

The strike has hit milk supplies from Maharashtra to Bidar, Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts resulting in increase in sales of Nandini products, owned by Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producers Federation (KMF).

As per official sources, the sale of Nandini milk in Bidar, Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts has risen from 53,000 litres a day a week ago, to around 60,000 litres a day after the supply of Maharashtra-origin milk brands, including Dudh Pandhari, Misty and Urja, was disrupted.

Similarly, the sale of Nandini curd has increased from 8,000 litres a day to 11,000 litres in the three districts that fall under Kalaburagi Milk Union of KMF. The Bijapur Milk Union’s milk sales in Solapur, Maharashtra, has risen from around 3,500 litres a week ago to 4,200 litres now, sources add.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:30:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/farmers-strike-leads-to-hoarding-speculation-in-onion-trade/article18725037.ece

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