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Big News! Lasalgaon Onion Market Breaks 75-Year-Old Tradition

Lasalgaon onion mandi remains open on Amavasya.

Shipra Singh
A trader with his onions and potatoes in a mandi
A trader with his onions and potatoes in a mandi

Lasalgaon Onion market or mandi has been in the limelight these days. First, it was because of the annoyance showed by the men traders when women traders entered the mandi for auction. Now, the mandi is again in news.  

This time, it is because the mandi has broken 75-year-old tradition of shutting its operations on every New Moon Day (Amavasya). People believed that it was inauspicious to do trading on this day. Farmers feared transporting their onions on this day.  

But now, this tradition has been broken. Farmers have raised their voice against this “superstition” and decided to go ahead with the trading on New Moon Day.  

Since the time Lasalgaon onion mandi was established on April 1, 1947, farmers and traders followed the tradition of keeping the mandi closed on New Moon Day or Amavasya.  

Reason behind breaking the tradition  

The mandi witnesses a trading of about 15,000 to 30,000 tonnes of onions daily. Even a single day closure of the mandi leads to heavy losses. Yet, traders continued with the tradition without raising any question or opposing this tradition.  

However, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed it all.  

The onion market remained closed frequently during the lockdown last year. This brought huge losses to onion farmers. To add fuel to the fire are unseasonal rains.  

This mandi supplies onions to various parts of the country. Even a slight change in onion supply impacts the wholesale and retail markets directly. According to traders of Lasalgaon onion mandi, the daily requirement of onions in India is 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes 

The President of Maharashtra State Onion Grower’s Association, Bharat Dighole, says, “One day closure means accumulation of onion stock and increase in arrival next day. The consequence is a drop in price the farmers get. This superstition of the closing market on Amavasya continued for last the 75 years. Recently Deola APMC decided to break the tradition and now Lasalgaon has followed in the footstep.” 

“There is another tradition of closing markets for ten days during March-end. This is another kind of superstition that all markets have to be closed during the financial year ending” he added. 

According to him, APMCs and traders should never close markets.  

As per an announcement made by the President of the Lasalgaon Merchants Association, trading will continue on Amavasya and on Saturdays to prevent losses to farmers and traders.  

The modern farmers have to say that after Coronavirus pandemic, we cannot afford to continue with the age-old traditions and superstitions. It is time to raise questions and ask “why.” One farmer remarked that as long as you are working or doing your “karma,” everything is auspicious.  

Lasalgaon onion mandi has set a fine example. It’s time to break baseless traditions and to questions superstitions. So, from women farmers entering the auction in the mandi to the mandi staying open on Amavasya, this onion market shows how we must adapt to newer situations.  

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