Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 11:
With little or no government intervention, onion farmers in Odisha’s Kalahandi and Nuapada districts are left to the mercy of unscrupulous middlemen. Farmers are being forced to distress sell their produce at throwaway prices after the crop suffered due to unseasonal rains triggered by low pressure from May 25 to May 27.
In the absence of proper storage and marketing facilities, the produce is likely to rot under the present weather conditions. This has forced farmers to distress sell their onion stock.
“We are forced to sell the produce at whatever price the middlemen are offering as there are no cold storage facilities,” said a farmer in Kalahandi district.
“We apprehend rotting of onions as there is no cold storage nor is there any effort from the government to procure onions. We have no option but to sell the produce to the middlemen at whatever price they offer,” said another farmer.
An official of the Horticulture department in Kalahandi district admitted that farmers are having to sell onions at Rs 5 a kg while the prevalent market price of onions in the retail market was Rs 18-19 per kg.
Since farmers in these districts are mostly poor, they have little capacity to hold their produce to fetch better prices later when markets improve.