No distress sale of onion in Odisha, says Minister

Bhubaneswar: Rebuffing media reports, food supplies and consumer welfare minister Surya Narayan Patro on Monday said there is ‘no distress sale of onion’ in western Odisha.

Following reports of distress sale of onions by farmers in districts like Balangir, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Deogarh, a three member team comprising officials from the food supplies and consumer welfare department, horticulture department and Markfed was constituted under the directions of Patro which visited the districts to verify the truth behind the allegations.

“I cannot comment when distress sale of onions had taken place. But, currently, farmers are selling onions at Rs 7.00 a kg in their fields and at Rs 7.80-Rs 8.00 a kg at mandis,” said Patro citing the report submitted by the team.

The minister also claimed that onion procurement price at mandis in the State is equal to that of the national average.

“The department would remain prepared to tackle the situation prior to harvesting of onions from the next season,” added Patro.

Earlier this month, there were reports that farmers in the western belt had to sell onion at Rs 5 per kg or even less than that. Reports were also there that Odisha would witness an increase in onion prices by Rs 10 to Rs 20 a kg from June due to a seven percent decrease in the kitchen staple’s production in 2017 as against 2016.

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