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Onion traders of Nashik go on strike, protest govt agencies dumping procured onion in wholesale markets

Onion traders in Maharashtra’s Nashik Wednesday started an indefinite strike demanding the Centre develop its own supply chain to dispose of onion in retail markets.

Khandubhau Deore, president of the onion traders association in Nashik, told The Indian Express that the traders have a meeting scheduled next Monday with Maharashtra’s Minister of Cooperation Dilip Walse-Patil to discuss the issue.

Unrest among the traders, exporters and commission agents in the onion markets has been simmering since the Centre imposed a 40 per cent duty on exports of the kitchen staple. This was meant to control onion price rise, primarily due to insufficient supply in the markets. Earlier in August, the traders stopped auctions in Nashik markets when the Centre imposed export duty.

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Deore said their main concern was that the Centre, through its agencies such as the National Cooperative Agricultural Marketing Federation (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumer Federation (NCCF), procure onion from traders but offload the same in wholesale markets in retail centres.

ALSO READ | Govt imposes 40 per cent export duty on onions: Why are prices rising?

“We as traders and commission agents have to work on thin margins and thus cannot compete with the government’s strategy. The government should develop its disposal mechanism to sell directly to consumers,” he said.

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Traders from the Dindori market said they wanted the government to sell the onion procured through a separate retail chain. “The government should develop its channel to dispose of the onion. We cannot compete with the prices at which the government sells,” the trader said. The NAFED had earlier procured 1.71 lakh tonnes of onion from Maharashtra and has since August procured 22,000 tonnes.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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