Farmers heave a sigh of relief as record-high prices of garlic spice up their lives

After onion and tomato, now prices of garlic have skyrocketed. The retail price has touched Rs 250-300 a kilo, while it's selling at Rs 220 per kilo in the wholesale market

Arvind ShuklaArvind Shukla   15 Oct 2019 12:39 PM GMT

Farmers heave a sigh of relief as record-high prices of garlic spice up their lives

Arvind Shukla/ Virendra Singh

After onion and tomato, now prices of garlic have skyrocketed. The retail price has touched Rs 250-300 a kilo, while it's selling at Rs 220 per kilo in the wholesale market. According to farmers, these prices are at a record high.

Garlic is grown predominantly in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar. The biggest wholesale markets of garlic are in Neemuch and Mandsaur districts in Madhya Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh, the Barabanki district has the most number of garlic farms. In Ramnagar mandi in Barabanki district, garlic is selling at Rs 220 per kilo, which is at a record high. In Lucknow and Delhi, the retail prices are at Rs 250-300 per kilo.

Ram Dulare Morya, who has been growing garlic for past 10-15 years, said: "We have been suffering losses since past many years. This year we got a good rate for our produce. We have sold garlic at Rs 20,000. If this rate continues, we will earn a good profit."

This year, he had grown garlic in his two-acre farm. He was selling it in batches. He had suffered a huge loss last year. He didn't even get Rs 10,000 for his one-acre produce, when ideally, he should have got Rs 50,000. Last year, he sold garlic at Rs 1,200.

Fifty-five-year-old Sumiran, a Barabanki-based farmer, said he has never seen such a rate for garlic in his lifetime. "In 2016, the rates touched Rs 12,000-13,000 per quintal. But this time, the rate has broken all the previous records," he said.

Around 900 kms from Barabanki, farmers living in Neemuch district in Madhya Pradesh are celebrating too. Jitendra Rathore, a whole seller and a farmer, told Gaon Connection over the phone: "The rate has been going up for past one month. The average rate is Rs 15,000 per quintal. Some farmers have managed to sell at Rs 18,000 per quintal. The rates are likely to go up further as we are nearing the festive season."

In Ramnagar mandi in Barabanki district, garlic is selling at Rs 220 per kilo, which is at a record high.In Ramnagar mandi in Barabanki district, garlic is selling at Rs 220 per kilo, which is at a record high.

Last year, he sold 200 sacks of garlic at Rs 250 per quintal. He had to throw away a lot of garlic. "This time, a month back, we sold garlic at Rs 8,000 a quintal. We have kept aside 50 quintal garlic, which we will sell in batches of 10-10 quintal each until Diwali," he said.

He cited three reasons behind the hike in the prices of garlic. First, last year farmers had to sell garlic at low rates, so they didn't bother to produce a bumper crop this year. Second, the rates are high as we haven't imported any garlic yet, and third, the sowing-season is still on and the demand always goes up during this period.

In 2017, six farmers had died at a protest rally in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh. In the same district, in 2018, sacks of garlic were found in many households as garlic was selling at Rs 2 in the wholesale market. In June 2018 when Gaon Connection team had visited Mandsaur, we met many farmers who had stored sacks of garlic in their homes.

Manoj Singh Chauhan, a farmer, had then said: "We are getting Rs 300-800 per quintal in the wholesale market, when our input costs are Rs 1,000 per quintal. We would rather let it rot than sell it."

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