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40pc rain deficit in Madhya Pradesh, onion farmers worried

As rainfall deficit continues to be over 40 per cent across Madhya Pradesh, thousands of onion farmers in the Malwa region are worried.

Already struggling due to the hike onion seed prices, they have now had to postpone sowing due to the three-week delay in monsoon and insignificant rain in the state for the past one month.

Ramswaroop Patidar, 40, owns 10 acres of land in Dupada village of Shajapur which he uses for cultivation to support his family of 10. In January this year, onion crop was damaged due to unseasonal rain and hail storms and he faced a loss of Rs. 1.5lakh. This season too hasn’t really brought any good news for him.

“In January I tried producing onion seeds but it was damaged. This time I will be buying onion seeds.” said Ramswaroop.

Onion have been declared an essential commodity but farmers say producing the crop this year will be expensive as prices of onion seed have doubled.

“Onion seeds right now are being sold between Rs. 1000-3200 per kg. Compared to last year, the price has gone up by 2.5 per cent,” said Pawan Agarwal, a seed vendor.

Onion prices have already doubled in last two weeks and the rainfall deficit is likely to result in more increase.

“By October, onion prices are expected to go up to Rs. 60-70 per kg,” a whole seller, Dev Shankar Lala, says.

Agriculture experts say that if it rains soon, there is still some hope as onions can be sowed even by August by using modern techniques.

“If it rains in the next few days, there is hope as onions can be sowed till August. Using drip technique onions can be grown but those who are only dependent on monsoon may be affected,” said Dr. Rajeev Umath, a scientist.

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