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How India's onion consumption witnessed a six-fold increase in 56 years

Prices of onion have skyrocketed in India owing to excessive rainfall in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, where the summer-crop is grown. Particularly, India’s primary onion-cultivating states have witnessed around 41% more rainfall than normal since the monsoon season began, leading to the crops being damaged. However, despite periodic fluctuations in price, onion consumption, per person per year, has steadily climbed from 2.25 kg in 1961 to 14.7 kg in 2017.

India is the world’s largest exporter of onions. Countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are heavily dependent on Indian shipments. On Wednesday, the federal government relaxed import norms up to December 15 to make possible the early shipment of onion to renew the domestic supply and check the retail prices of the key kitchen staple.

In states like, Madhya Pradesh, along with Maharashtra and Karnataka, which are prominent onion growers, the lockdown halted the buying capacity and hindered transportation of the commodity. This year, despite a bumper harvest, the onion farmers are aggrieved as prices have slipped below input cost.

News18.com quoted Ajit Shah, president of the Mumbai-based Onion Exporters’ Association as saying; “Supplies from the new crop have been delayed by nearly a month. Prices could remain firm in the short term,". The issue also emerged as a flashpoint between New Delhi and Dhaka after Bangladesh conveyed its “deep concern” over India’s decision to ban the export of onions. However, the Indian government later granted special permission to export 25,000 tonnes of onion to Bangladesh.


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