Photos: Indian farmers sweat as onion prices soar

The price of onions in India have surged more than 200% in September from previous months after flooding from heavy monsoon rains damaged crops and reduced supplies. This has prompted the government to ban exports and crack down on hoarding to lower prices, angering the farmers who are bearing the brunt for selling their produce for reduced prices. Consequently, onions have emerged at the epicentre of a major controversy, pitting government officials who want lower prices against farmers that need extra income.

Updated On Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST 8 Photos
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A worker sleeps on sacks of onions at the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) wholesale market in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Onions in India are once more at the epicentre of a major controversy, pitting government officials who want lower prices against farmers that need extra income. (Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg)

A worker sleeps on sacks of onions at the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) wholesale market in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Onions in India are once more at the epicentre of a major controversy, pitting government officials who want lower prices against farmers that need extra income. (Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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A worker sleeps inside a truck at the APMC wholesale market in Mumbai. Prices of the vegetable, as ubiquitous as spices in Indian cooking, surged more than 200% in September from previous months after flooding from heavy monsoon rains damaged crops and reduced supplies. That’s prompted the government to ban exports and crack down on hoarding to lower prices, angering farmers. (Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg)

A worker sleeps inside a truck at the APMC wholesale market in Mumbai. Prices of the vegetable, as ubiquitous as spices in Indian cooking, surged more than 200% in September from previous months after flooding from heavy monsoon rains damaged crops and reduced supplies. That’s prompted the government to ban exports and crack down on hoarding to lower prices, angering farmers. (Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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Workers unload sacks of onions from trucks at APMC wholesale market. The onion, whose soaring prices have been blamed for bringing down past governments, puts Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tight spot. During his re-election campaign this year, the premier promised to raise incomes for farmers, a key voting constituency that makes up more than half of the electorate. Yet Modi also needs to ensure inflation remains stable, and food prices are already spiking higher. (Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg)

Workers unload sacks of onions from trucks at APMC wholesale market. The onion, whose soaring prices have been blamed for bringing down past governments, puts Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tight spot. During his re-election campaign this year, the premier promised to raise incomes for farmers, a key voting constituency that makes up more than half of the electorate. Yet Modi also needs to ensure inflation remains stable, and food prices are already spiking higher. (Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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A vendor at Kothrud in Pune, Maharashtra. “The government could be caught in a dilemma, as while it seeks to keep food inflation contained, it also has a promise to raise farm incomes,” said Jason Yek, Asia Country Risk Analyst at Fitch Solutions. “Any measure to artificially depress the price of onions could spur a backlash from the onion farmers.” (Sanket Wankhade / HT Photo)

A vendor at Kothrud in Pune, Maharashtra. “The government could be caught in a dilemma, as while it seeks to keep food inflation contained, it also has a promise to raise farm incomes,” said Jason Yek, Asia Country Risk Analyst at Fitch Solutions. “Any measure to artificially depress the price of onions could spur a backlash from the onion farmers.” (Sanket Wankhade / HT Photo)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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Communist Party of India (CPI) activists protest against the rising price of onions, in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Onion prices climbed to as high as 80 rupees a kilogram in September, compared with 20 to 25 rupees in July through August. The gains are due to flooding, as well as because farmers reduced onion crops after prices fell to as little as 2 rupees per kilogram in Maharashtra in December, said Siraj Hussain, former farm secretary. (Arabinda Mahapatra / HT Photo)

Communist Party of India (CPI) activists protest against the rising price of onions, in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Onion prices climbed to as high as 80 rupees a kilogram in September, compared with 20 to 25 rupees in July through August. The gains are due to flooding, as well as because farmers reduced onion crops after prices fell to as little as 2 rupees per kilogram in Maharashtra in December, said Siraj Hussain, former farm secretary. (Arabinda Mahapatra / HT Photo)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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Meanwhile, to relieve the residents ahead of the assembly polls, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched control rate onion vans that sold onions for 23.90 rupees a week ago. The central government last month released onions from state stockpiles to Safal, the country’s largest organised retail network of fruit and vegetables, which will also cap prices. Authorities will monitor prices, and consider strict action against hoarding and profiteering activities. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

Meanwhile, to relieve the residents ahead of the assembly polls, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched control rate onion vans that sold onions for 23.90 rupees a week ago. The central government last month released onions from state stockpiles to Safal, the country’s largest organised retail network of fruit and vegetables, which will also cap prices. Authorities will monitor prices, and consider strict action against hoarding and profiteering activities. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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People stand in queue to buy onions sold at Rs 23.90 per kg by Delhi Government of India, outside Krishi Bhawan. Exports of all varieties of onions are now prohibited, the government said on Sunday. Devinder Sharma, a food and trade policy analyst in Punjab with 30 years of experience in food policies, says the government is panicking over surging onion prices. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

People stand in queue to buy onions sold at Rs 23.90 per kg by Delhi Government of India, outside Krishi Bhawan. Exports of all varieties of onions are now prohibited, the government said on Sunday. Devinder Sharma, a food and trade policy analyst in Punjab with 30 years of experience in food policies, says the government is panicking over surging onion prices. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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Onions at the UP state warehouse in Navi Mumbai. According to Sharma, farmers in some regions are getting paid 75% less for their onions after the export ban was introduced. “It is the farmers who suffer in the process. Farmers are being penalised to keep consumers happy. Inflation has to be kept low, but what happens to the millions of people that produce that food?” (Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo)

Onions at the UP state warehouse in Navi Mumbai. According to Sharma, farmers in some regions are getting paid 75% less for their onions after the export ban was introduced. “It is the farmers who suffer in the process. Farmers are being penalised to keep consumers happy. Inflation has to be kept low, but what happens to the millions of people that produce that food?” (Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo)

Updated on Oct 04, 2019 01:45 PM IST
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