The first load of 27 metric ton onions of total 100 metric ton that Kerala government ordered from National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), reached the state on Friday morning.
Kerala government intervened in the market to reduce the onion price and ordered 100 metric ton onions from NAFED.
The state also plans to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the Central government's three Agriculture sector reform laws, said Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar on Friday.
Talking about the move, Kumar said that in Kerala situation is different from other states because the requirement for big onions is very high and production is zero.
"We have to depend on other states for onions. Hundred per cent of onions are coming from other places. So the price hike has affected our consumers. Now the cost of big onion is Rs 110 and in some places, it is Rs 120. It is increasing continuously. Therefore we decided to intervene in the matter and discuss with NAFED. We ordered 100 metric ton big onion, and today we received 27 metric ton from NAFED," said Kumar.
He said that he had a discussion with NAFED officials about allotting more quantity of onion to Kerala on ex-godown price.
"There is a provision to provide an ex-godown price for public distribution systems. We have a very good public distribution system in Kerala. Generally, the Managing Director (MD) of NAFED agreed to allot ex-godown price for Kerala. If that happens, we can reduce the price in the state. Currently, we are selling onions at Rs 45 rupees per kilogram," he added.
Kumar said he also had a discussion with Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) Minister P Thilothaman Page, and he is of the belief that SupplyCo has also ordered more than 200 metric ton onions from NAFED.
"As Supplyco has 4000 outlets, they can easily intervene on the bottom level. We have 600 Horticorp outlets, so we have limitations. When Supplyco also comes together with us very good result will come within two or three days. Today we have decided to sell 45 to 50 rupees. When we receive the second batch from NAFED on ex-godown price, we can sell onions for 34 or 40 rupees per kilogram in Kerala," he added.
He further questioned the central government's policy and said the price was raised because of the amendments in the Essential Commodities Act.
"There is a question about why the price of onion rose. It happened as the first blow for the public because of the central government policy, their enactment on the Essential Commodities Act. Central Government is claiming this act is for farmers, but actually, it is very clear it is for the corporates.
There was no natural calamity, no production loss in the country. But the procurement is done by the private sector and as per the new enactment there is no legal issue in keeping the stock," Kumar said and added that the multinational compes especially Reliance and other compes directly procuring or purchasing the products from the farmers and storing in their godowns.
Kumar said the raised prices onion is the first impact of the farm laws passed by Central government in the last monsoon session. He said the laws are not only against the farmers but against all the common people in the country.
"This is the first impact. The price will not limit to the onion prices only. There will a price hike of pulses, rice and all other essential goods. After some time farmers will not any share of the hikes prices. All the money will go to corporate compes. These laws are purely for the corporate," he said.
The Agriculture Minister stated that the three new agriculture sector laws will be especially bad for Kerala because it is a consumer market rather than a producer market.
"Kerala will worst affect by these three enactments. Especially the Essential Commodities Act will adversely affect the state because Kerala is a consumer state. We are trying to make our state as a production state. Now the production of vegetable products has increased. In 2015 it was 4.8 lakh metric ton and now it 50 lakh metric ton," the Minister stated.
He added that the state government will approach the apex court in few days, against the passage of three farm sector laws passed by the Centre, as agriculture is a "concurrent issue" and making laws for the sector is states' right.
"We are already prepared and in few days we will go to the Supreme Court against these laws. The Central government has no right to pass the bills in parliament. It is a concurrent issue. Farming and allied sector, they have no right to make law in the parliament. This is the right of the states, they have the right to make law regarding the agriculture and allied sector. But I don't know why they are encroaching on the right of the state. This is only because of the corporate interest, and the state is going to challenge the issue," he stated further.
The three laws are - The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
( With inputs from ANI )
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