VIJAYAWADA: While price of onions touched Rs 180 per kg in the city, farmers in Kurnool and Kadapa are saying that they are getting only about Rs 30 per kg for their produce.
Local onions are being sold in rythu bazaars at the subsidised price of Rs 90 and queues snaking upto 600 metre were seen to buy the onion. People say these onions are of inferior quality and has high moisture content. Continuous rains in September and October damaged onion crop in Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of Rayalaseema region and it is this variety of onions that thae government is procuring now to be sold in the rythu bazaars.
“Onions should be properly dried before they reach the market. High moisture levels result in wastage and weight gets reduced after they lose moisture. We cannot give high price to such onions,” said K Nageswara Rao, a wholesale onion trader from Kaleswara Rao market in the city.
Officials of the agriculture marketing department, however, say that farmers are getting low prices for their produce only because they are depending more upon middlemen even as the government is directly procuring the onion from farmers to supply it to rythu bazaars across the state. M Divakar Rao, additional director at agriculture marketing department said that authorities are paying around Rs 110 per kg to the farmers even for the onions with high moisture content. “We don’t agree with the version of farmers. We are procuring available stocks in marketing yards across Kurnool and Kadapa districts by paying a high amount. A few farmers are still relying on the middlemen and getting deceived,” Rao said. “We have deployed special teams to procure onions from the farmers of Karnataka and Maharashtra as well,” he added.