Onion export ban, heavy rain leave growers in despair

Heaps of onion bulbs were washed away in rainwater at APMC yard in Raichur on Friday. Plummeting prices owing to export ban and floods have left the growers in north Karnataka in the lurch. DH PHOTO

The Union government’s decision to ban the export of onion has left onion growers of Hubballi and surrounding areas in tears. The price of onion per quintal has plunged by over Rs 2,000 in a week.

Onions were sold at Rs 4,500 per quintal in September. On Sept 19, the prices reached Rs 5,000-mark at the Hubballi APMC yard. However, as soon as the Union government announced the ban on the export of onions on September 29, the prices fell anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 per quintal based on the quality and the variety of the produce. The fall in the price of onion has left the growers in the lurch.

North Karnataka districts account for the bulk of the total onion production in the state The growers in the region are already battling the heavy rains, floods, and had very little hope of good yield. Now, whatever little yield they had harvested will not give them even the input cost back.

Speaking to DH, onion grower Ravi Kalasur of Shigali village in Lakshmeshwar taluk said, heavy rains had damaged crops on vast tracts. “With whatever yield we got, we were hopeful that it would fetch us a good price and would support us in our hard times. However, the Union government’s decision has made us literally cry,” he said.

He said just a week ago, A1 quality onion was being purchased at APMC yard for Rs 4,500 a quintal. However, on Friday it was being purchased for Rs 3,300 a quintal.

Farmers are complaining that the sudden fall in the price has meant that they could not even recover their input cost, let alone profit. They also said that heavy rains meant that none of the farmers could grow A1 quality onion on large scale.

They demanded the Union government to immediately lift the ban and help the growers recover input cost, at least.

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