Neemuch: The intense cacophony of election campaigning that revolved around the farmers’ crisis in Madhya Pradesh has washed off once again, leaving the situation of peasants largely unchanged, as they continue to grapple with same problems of bumper crops and dipping prices.
The situation is particularly glaring in the case of onion and garlic, which are the dominant crops in the mandis of the Malwa region, as their prices have yet again plummeted.
At Neemuch, which is a prominent krishi mandi in Malwa region, onion was being sold for just 50 paisa a kg on Sunday. In addition to onion, garlic too, emerged as tearjerker for farmers as its prices plummeted to Rs 2 per kg.
The rock-bottom prices have been attributed to the surge of supply of these two commodities following an above par harvest this season.
It also underlines why farmers across the country have been protesting against the government for the past few months – it has failed to ensure minimum support price despite repeated assurances.
Unable to recover the input costs due to the throwaway prices offered in mandis, farmers have started abandoning their produce. Some of them are also lugging it back with them to feed it to their cattle.
Due to the bumper crop, around 10,000 bags each of onion and garlic are arriving at the Neemuch mandi daily. On Monday, several areas there witnessed a traffic jam after the farmers reached the town with their tractor-trolleys laden with onion and garlic.
Left with no other option, helpless farmers from around Rajasthan are the only ones who are leaving behind their crops, as they are unable to incur the expenditure required to carry the stocks back with them.
In such a situation, it is ironical that the bulb still sells at Rs 15 to 20 per kg in retails shops across the state, while garlic fetches Rs 30 to 40 per kg.
This is not the first time onion prices have nosedived in the state. The situation was even worse in 2016 when the onion prices had plunged to 30 paisa a kg.
In last the few years, the MP government had procured onion directly from farmers at Rs 8 a kg in order to address farmers’ issues. However, the scheme was marred with allegations of anomalies and flouting of norms.
The farm crisis had overshadowed other issues during the high decibel election campaign in Madhya Pradesh recently. On one hand, the Congress tried wooing the farmers with loan waiver promises, while the BJP underlined the pro-farmer measures initiated by it during its 15-year rule.