Farmers in and around Lasalgaon, Niphad, and other major onion growing regions in Nashik, however, are still planning to continue sowing this crop on hopes of a revival in its price in coming months.
Thousands of farmers across the Nashik district are fully dependent on onion cultivation. The district alone contributes nearly 16 per cent of India’s annual onion output
of around 23 million tonne which is divided into three cycles — the early kharif (15 per cent), seasonal kharif (70 per cent), and late kharif (15 per cent) seasons.
“Seeds are adequately available this season as well. While monsoon rainfall has not yet started in the district, farmers have begun sowing of onion seeds in irrigated land for saplings that can be later re-planted with the onset of showers for seasonal crops. Nashik farmers have very limited choice for crop shifting. Normally, farmers sow onion on hopes for a revival in prices next year,” said Hansraj Patil, an onion farmer in Niphad near Lasalgaon.
In retail, onion is currently being sold at Rs 15 a kg, a decline of 40 per cent from its price of Rs 25 a kg until two weeks ago.
Barely six months ago in December 2019, onion was quoted at Rs 70-80 a kg in wholesale and Rs 140-150 a kg in retail, which invited tough actions like the imposition of stock limit and a ban on its exports to bring down its prices to an affordable level.
There is a huge disappointment among farmers ahead of sowing season as the current price does not yield even the cost of production which some farmers quote at Rs 8 a kg.
“There is no export order. Farmers are bringing in the stored onion to create space for the next season crop and also fetch some money to buy seeds and fertiliser,” said Santosh Patil, chairman, APMC, Sangli.