Onions seem to have a long-established relation with the BJP government. The market price of onions skyrocketed during former BJP PM Mr. Atal Bihari’s reign, thus, bringing down BJP’s government. This time it’s overproduction of onions that has caused quite a ruckus in Rajasthan—yet another BJP-governed state in India. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are leading onion-producing states in the country.
Increased consumption last year instigated Rajasthan farmers to produce more onions this year. Favorable weather and government subsidy helped their case. Consequently, there has been bumper production of onions in Rajasthan. The vegetable is available in large quantities in the market this month. The rate of consumption is far behind the rate at which onions are arriving in the market.
This year, Jodhpur alone has cultivated 3.6 tons of onions in 24,000 hectares. The production is more or less the same in remaining districts of Rajasthan.
Since onions are easily perishable in the hot climate of Rajasthan, farmers were in a hurry to dispose of their old stocks. In this rush, many onion farmers in Jodhpur were forced to sell their produce at cheap prices. Onion prices crashed down to Rs 2/kg—the cheapest price ever quoted for onions this season. It’s not just Jodhpur, but also Sikar, where the farmers are vulnerable to heavy losses—all thanks to a bounteous harvest! Sikar has a larger area under onion cultivation, which is why farmers are in a state of jeopardy as to how they’ll find customers for their bulbous crop.
Considering the plight of onion farmers, Rajasthan government sought the Centre’s help in this case. They’ll seek expert approval to implement measures by which, they can ease the brunt of onion production on agriculturists.
This reminds us of a similar ruckus in Nasik last year, when the government offered assistance to onion farmers and granted them subsidy to construct cold storehouses where they can store onions all year round. These bamboo-made storage facilities allowed proper ventilation of air inside the storage to prevent them from rotting.
The state will attempt to launch a similar measure to check farmers’ losses.