The prices of vegetables continued to soar across the State as the famers’ agitation entered its sixth day on Tuesday. Taking stock of the situation, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that farm loans would be waived by October-end. Widespread protests continued in Nashik and Ahmednagar and ordinary consumers had to dig deep into their pockets to buy essential vegetables, whose prices sky-rocketed. The protest has put a severe strain on Maharashtra’s rural economy. According to sources, there has been a ₹100-crore loss in Nashik district alone. Fourfold increaseSeventeen wholesale markets have remained shut for six days now. The price of one kilo tomato has soared from ₹10 to ₹60. A kilo of okra now costs ₹50 from the earlier ₹15. The price of leafy vegetables and potatoes have increased fourfold, said retailers in Pune.On Tuesday morning, only 60% of the normal supply of vegetables arrived at the Pune APMC in Gultekdi. Supply of milk has stabilised in urban pockets, but remains a problem in rural areas of Nashik and Ahmednagar districts. Many farmers have split large quantities of milk to register their protest. “The procurement is way below 50% of the normal 1.5 lakh litres a day,” said Dr. Vivek Kshirsagar, managing director of the Pune District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union.The agitation is backed by a number of political entities such as the Shiv Sena, Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and the Sambhaji Brigade. The activists of these parties locked out government buildings in a symbolic protest on Tuesday. In Kolhapur, members of the Shetkari Sanghatana led by Raghunath Patil put locks on a number of government buildings including the Talathi office. In Pune, the Sambhaji Brigade put locks on the new administrative building (central building) near the railway station that houses the Agriculture Commissioner’s Office.Small retailers frustratedSmaller vegetable retailers in Pune expressed frustration with the strike, which was called by the Nashik faction within the Kisan Kranti Morcha. The faction replaced the Puntamba [Ahmednagar] group and took over the leadership of the agitation. They had called for a Maharashtra bandh on Monday, but it elicited a poor response.