Western Odisha onion farmers lose out to middlemen
Lack of storage facilities and farmers’ cooperatives has led to this situation
Even as onion price has started to shoot up, farmers in western Odisha — especially in Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts — are rueing for missing out a chance for reaping profits.
Majority of farmers in the region have either sold their stocks to middlemen or disposed of produces in open market at a price very low by any market standard. The price of onion at farmers’ level had varied between Rs. 3 and Rs 9 per kg.
The reason for this situation is absence of storage facilities and farmers’ cooperatives.
Moreover, farmers have no access to bigger market from where they could get fair price of their produces.
The prevailing poverty level in the region is also adding to the woes. As soon as their crop is ready for harvest, farmers sell it either in the open market or to middlemen at whatever price offered to them.
Odisha produced 432,052 metric tonnes of onion in 2013-14. Bolangir alone had production of 123,006 mt accounting for more than 28 per cent of State’s production.
Similarly, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts had produced 31,888 mt and 11,414 mt respectively.
While the highest onion productivity was found to be 14.74 mt per hactre in Bolangir, the productivity in Kalahandi and Khariar is 13.32 mt and 13.46 mt per hactre respectively. Only Angul district with 13.55 mt per hectare of productivity matches with these three western Odisha districts.
“I had taken up onion cultivation in two acres of land. Although the production was below my expectations after being affected by three days of unseasonal rain during May, my profit margin could have been more in view of rapidly rising onion price in the market. But we hardly have any storage facility to preserve our produce,” Ram Narayan Singh, a farmer in Khariar block of Nuapada district, said.
He said unless farmers’ cooperative is not developed with government back-up in the region, farmers would continue to fall victim to distress sale.
The region, known as Odisha’s Nasik, could keep volatile price of onion in check if basic infrastructure facilities and services are provided to farmers.
Entry filed under: Agriculture, Agriculture and Irrigation, Balangir, Infrastructure, Kalahandi, Kalahandi Balangir Koraput (KBK) region, Nuapada, Region watch, State and Central govt. and KBK, Subarnapur.