HYDERABAD: As the price of onions has come down drastically at the Mahaboob Mansion Market, Malakpet, some frustrated and dejected farmers have left hundreds of onion bags there itself while a few others distributed them free of cost to the people passing by. “I expected one quintal to fetch me about Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 but I had to sell them for just Rs 500,” lamented Kesava Rao, a farmer from Toramba, Maharashtra. He had brought 50 quintals in the hope of making some money. But as ill-luck would have it, due to a spurt in supply, the price of one quintal of grade I onion stood at Rs 500 and grade II hovered around Rs 400 on Wednesday.
Farmers from Kurnool and Karnataka left the onions at the market itself. “I brought 20 quintals of grade II quality onions. But I couldn’t sell much even though I have been here for the last five days,” A Narayana Rao, a farmer from Kurnool, complained. In a fit of anger, he distributed onions to the people free of cost.
Like him, several farmers from his village couldn’t get back even their travel expenses. In all, over 11 quintals of onion bags were left at the market at the end of the day. V Uday, a broker at the market, observed, “I have been working here for the last 10 years but never ever did I see this kind of fall in onion prices.” He said sarcastically that the GHMC would take the onion bags left at the market and dump them in the garbage dumping yard. Despite this situation, about 150 onion-laden lorries arrived from Kurnool, Karnataka and Maharashtra on Wednesday. The 9,575 quintals of onion bags that these lorries brought ensured that the prices remained well below the expectations of the farmers. Last year, on Feb 8, 1,855 quintals of onion bags arrived and each quintal (grade I) was sold for Rs 1,500 and the grade II onions fetched Rs 1,000 for the farmers.
G Ellaish, deputy director of the market and selection grad secretary, AMC Hyderabad, said, “The first reason for the low price is over production of onions in Karnataka and Maharashtra and the second is that this year the supply of onions to the market is higher than previous years.” He, however, exuded confidence that the prices will increase from mid-March as farmers in the State stop production from then on. “We have suggested to farmers who are from the State to meet Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and seek compensation,” he said.