Maharashtra: Onion Farmers begin Phone calls and Social Media Agitation

Onion Farmer | Image Credit: nationalheraldindia.com

Onion Farmer | Image Credit: nationalheraldindia.com

Onion farmers getting less than the production cost has always been a topic of debate, especially in Maharashtra. The onion’s average production cost is Rs 11 to 12 per kg, and they earn Rs 5 to 6 per kilo. However, the same onions are sold in the market by traders for Rs 25 to 30 per kg. Farmers are getting unacceptably low margin, and are left with no choice but to protest.

To draw the government’s attention towards this issue, the Maharashtra Onion Farmers’ Association (MOFA) has recently started a unique agitation that involves using a phone and social media as their tools.  

According to the association, a margin of Rs 5 to 6 per kg is not enough for farmers to cover their expenses, so they should be paid at least Rs 20 per kg.  Through this agitation, the farmers will call the state and center’s key leaders daily, and demand a payment to make up for the difference when they sell onions for less than Rs 20 per kilo. 

The President of the Association, Bharat Dighole, recently interacted with journalists. He said the official phone numbers of the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey, Minister of Agriculture (State) Dada Bhuse along with other 10 MPs and 16 MLAs have already been provided to the onion farmers. 

Farmers are calling ministers and demanding the price difference. They are also requesting special coaches in trains for the transportation of onions and 50 percent concession in transportation costs. 

To draw PM Narendra Modi’s attention to the onion growers, the MOFA also launched a twitter agitation, and one lakh individuals have tweeted their problems to the prime minister. 

The MOFA has asked farmers to avoid protesting on streets because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Thus, they implemented this unique way of using phone calls and social networking sites as their weapons.

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