Onions are one of the most important crops grossing large income for India through its exports. It is believed that despite of India has rich and flavourful cuisine, surprisingly use of onions is rather less as compared to that in other countries. What India does well, though, is produce onions and export it to many countries.
White onions are one of the biggest crops produced in the coastal town of Mahuva of Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district. This area is known for its export of dehydrated white onion products like onion flakes, granules and onion powder. Nevertheless, the sector is now struggling as the Russia-Ukraine war has affected the exports drastically.
According to statistics, around 18,000 metric tonnes of dehydrated-onion based products are exported to Russia and Ukraine every season, which accounts for 30% of total exports from this region. With the ongoing war, there is already a decline in the demand for onions from these two markets. However, local traders have also stopped export to these countries due to uncertainty regarding payments.
“Exports to Russia and Ukraine have stopped as there is no certainty of payments from the buyers. Payment cycles too had been stretched and this had an adverse impact on exporters,” said Manoj Ram, president, All India Vegetables Dehydration Association.
Gujarat as a state accounts for 80% of India’s total exports of white onions from an average produce of around 75,000 tonne. The region has had a bumper crop this year as well, but with international scenario as it is , farmers and traders are unable to en-cash on it. This is disappointing as now the traders have to hope that their surplus is sold at the local retail markets. That said, with huge availability of the product, the price has also dropped.
This entire situation is affecting the farmers the most and traders too are helpless in improving the situation. Eventually, traders will haver to find and negotiate with other countries and newer export destinations, but this is a difficult and time-consuming task.