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Farmers can opt for multiple crops to escape glut crisis

Farmers can opt for multiple crops to escape glut crisis


MUMBAI: What has made the Maharashtra farmer hit the streets, dump his produce and even attack suppliers? A combination of weather, unscrupulous middlemen and lack of discretion on crop seems to have wreaked havoc on their lives.

Rainfall in Maharashtra has been deficient in 2011 and the situation turned worse leading to a severe drought till 2015. In 2016, farmers got relief with normal rains, when they got back to sowing after taking loans. However, after a good crop now, they have been hit by unscrupulous traders who have not paid them expected prices.

Onions sold for Rs 4,500-5,000 a quintal in previous years, but fell to less than Rs 1,000 now with a glut in production. In some places, farmers were offered 10 quintals for less than Rs 500, prompting many to dump their produce on the roads or dry up in the fields. The same is the case of tomatoes, where farmers were offered Rs 3-6 for a kilo.

The price was not enough to even take care of transportation from the field to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) auction centres.

“We have to pay labourers who harvest the tomatoes, hire vehicles to transports the produce and a commission at APMC market. I know farmers who ended up paying Rs 500-800 commission to APMC. Basically, after three months, we have incurred a loss instead of earning a profit,” said Pradeep Londhe a farmer from Nashik.

That explains why Nashik saw worst violence during the farmers’ protest on Thursday. They resorted to a road blockade followed by stone-pelting on police personnel.
Besides the government, even farmers have to share the blame for the current crisis. “Prices of a single crop crashes each time — once it is onion at another time it is tomato. That shows most farmers are sowing one particular crop at the same time, leading to oversupply. The government is at fault for not encouraging multiple crops, Sandeep Vempati a researcher on agriculture.







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