The Tragedy of Onions


For the past so many months now, I have been buying onions at Rs.20 per kg. The price has remained pretty much the same here in Delhi, except for the rainy season when it shoots up a little bit and the quality too deteriorates. That’s when I have to pay more for onions of better quality.

I recently came across this article and I got a shock of my life! (

Can you imagine that? Farmers recently sold their onions for as low as 20 paise per kg while I continued to pay 100 times their price in Delhi! Many of these farmers actually trashed their produce into the garbage, since there was no hope of getting back their investment by selling them. They had neither the means nor the time to sell them themselves at better prices.

This is what the onions tragedy is all about. During months of bumper production, the farmers don’t get a good price, so they move on to more profitable crops. This creates a scarcity and onions become expensive again. It is the traders who are benefiting the most from this situation as they are buying onions at rock-bottom prices and selling them at more than 100 times the cost price.

But this is not in the best interests of the nation. It is our politicians who are to blame for not taking proper countermeasures to arrest this situation. Anyway, better late than never. My dear leaders, please focus on making farming worthwhile and make some investment on storage, transportation, and marketing so that agricultural items that take so much labor and love to produce are not wasted.


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