ALSO READMove over onion, better-yielding garlic lures Madhya Pradesh's farmers Salt intake: Some facts and myths GST receipt estimates not to be part of FY17's Budget estimate IIT JEE Advanced 2017 results out: You can check them here Onion farmers languish even as traders ride on arbitrage to double profits
Despite an output decline of about a fifth, which normally supports a price rise, farmers are selling garlic at reduced prices, they complain, due to stringent procurement norms from government agencies.
At the benchmark Neemuch (Madhya Pradesh) Agricultural Produce Market Committee yard, the average quality is quoting at Rs 10 a kg, the modal price being around Rs 25 a kg. In Pipliya (Madhya Pradesh) mandi, which contributes nearly a fourth of India's entire quantity of arrivals, garlic is selling at Rs 13 a kg. In Allahabad, garlic has lost around a quarter of its value in the past month to trade currently at Rs 24 a kg, due to a sharp increase in its arrival and paucity of bulk purchasers.
Apart from its use as a spice, it is also consumed to make a number of ayurvedic medicines and, hence, is also categorised as a medicinal plant.
"The current Rs 10-12 a kg in a majority of regions of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is bizarre for garlic farmers. Their cost of production is higher than the realisation. Farmers are not going to government agencies due to a cumbersome payment process, resulting in a delay of up to three to four months. Private players like large traders and stockists pay immediately and, hence, farmers prefer to supply there," said Ram Prashad Choudhary, director, Vansh Agro Products, a Jaipur-based garlic trader.
Also, government agencies are seeking the Aadhaar number and land registration paper in the seller's name before procuring. "Private traders do not and also pay immediately," says Mohinder Singh, general secretary, Garlic Merchants Association.
The second advance estimate from the Union ministry of agriculture had output at 1.27 million tonnes for 2016-17 (July to June), compared to 1.62 mt the previous year. The National Horticulture Board had reported only a two per cent decline in sowing at 274,000 hectare, compared with 281,000 ha a year before. The yield, however, was estimated to have declined to five tonnes a ha, from six tonnes ha last year.