Farmers in distress as glut pushes onion prices down

Farmers dumping onions.

A glut in production has resulted in onion prices crashing to a meagre Rs 8 a kg in the state, leaving the farmers helpless.

Onions, which are otherwise priced at about Rs 30 a kg in Bengaluru, are now sold anywhere between Rs 8 and Rs 12 in the market. In the days to come, prices could drop further, say experts. While supermarkets have kept the prices at Rs 15 for the better quality ones, those available in pushcarts are selling for as low as Rs 8.

Experts are blaming excess cultivation for the glut. Rajanna, additional secretary, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Bengaluru, said at least 40% of the produce is stocked at the farm level. “Every year, around this time, there would be just enough stock of onions. However, this year, there is excess supply,” he said.

Unseasonal cultivation of the crop is what has lead to the loss for farmers, he said. “Karnaraka usually cultivates onion between August and November. This is not even the month of harverst for onions in the state,” he said.

Had Karnataka grown its crop during these months, not just the local demand, but that from other states too would have been higher. The state transports onions to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, parts of North India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Most of this crop is grown in Chitradurga, Gadag and Hubballi districts. Rajanna said this being the season for these states as well to cultivate the crop, there has been no demand.

“If Karnataka’s farmers had grown the crop in the usual season, we would have had just sufficient quantity.

This untimely harvest of the produce has led to the situation,” he said. In APMC, while a quintal of onions is generally priced around Rs 1,500-1,600, it has dropped to Rs 400 to 700 now.

Rainfall

Last year, the state received a good amount of rainfall last year due to which the groundwater levels have also gone up, said Rajanna. Farmers hence grew the crop yet again after the usual season.

Ranganna (name changed), a Hopcoms member, said, “Farmers made a lot of profit last year. They repeated the crop hoping for the same again. This profit-mindedness has led to the crash in prices.”

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Farmers in distress as glut pushes onion prices down

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