Can you imagine eating a curry without onions? If onion prices continue to rise, this could soon become a reality. Just last week the prices of onions in Delhi was Rs 80/Kg. If you are from Gurgaon, the price of onions was a whopping Rs 100/Kg. Don't you think at such high prices, onions are bringing tears to your eyes?
In Delhi, a kilo of onions used to cost Rs 25-30 depending on size and quality. Today, the price of onions has the Delhi Government worried. The Delhi Government has requested the Centre to help out. The Delhi Government wants the Center to create a PSF (Price Stabilization Fund), so that onions can be distributed at cheaper prices.
The Government has imposed export restrictions on onions and said onions should not be exported at less than $850 per tonne. The Government had even allowed state-owned agencies to import onions from Egypt and China to bring down prices.
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The Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Imran Hussain, is concerned about the rising prices of onions and wants strict action against hoarders. The Minister is even considering putting stock limits on the storage of onions by wholesalers and retailers. In the middle of all this a question arises. Is there any way you can buy onions at a cheap price?
Onions are 90% water and here lies the secret to controlling the rise in prices of onions. Onions just have to be dehydrated (Water needs to be removed from them). About 10 Kgs of fresh onions gives 1 Kg of dehydrated onions. If this 1 Kg of dehydrated onions is soaked in water, well...you get back 10 Kgs of fresh onions.
A kilo of dehydrated onions cost Rs 70-80/Kg. If you soak a kilo of dehydrated onions in water, you get about 10 Kgs. So, your onions cost just about Rs 10 a Kilo.
Don't you think dehydrated onions can be a solution to the rise in prices of onions?
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India produces around 70,000-75,000 tonnes of dehydrated onions a year, out of which only 15% is consumed within the country. The rest of it is exported to Russia, Europe, Middle East and even Africa. Dehydrated onions have great demand in Western countries.
So why are dehydrated onions not popular in India? Most of the dehydrated onions in India are consumed by restaurants and hotels. As onion prices rise, masala producers, the ready to cook industry and the catering industry is heavily purchasing dehydrated onions.
The problem lies in Indian households. Out of the nearly 10,000 tonnes of dehydrated onions produced domestically, only 1,000 tonnes of dehydrated onions are consumed by Indian households.
The reason for this is simple....You and other citizens love fresh vegetables and onions. You are not willing to buy dehydrated onions because you perceive that these onions are stale.
India has around 95 onion dehydration units, out of which 75 are located in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. As onion prices rise, the demand for dehydrated onions goes up. Yet, households in India are not willing to purchase dehydrated onions.
The reason for this...Lack of awareness on dehydrated onions and its benefits. Many people in the onion dehydration industry believe that the Government is not doing enough to promote the product. So, onion dehydration Companies are taking charge and are launching their own marketing campaigns to promote awareness on dehydrated onions among the common man.
Onion dehydration Companies are trying to spread awareness on the cost benefits of dehydrated onions, but have not met with much success.
Yes, Dehydrated onions can be a solution to the high onion prices in India. Dehydrated onions are the best substitute and can control onion prices. The All India Dehydration Association has asked the Government to support branding and awareness of dehydrated onions in India. Perhaps, the Government would look into it, owing to high onion prices. Be Wise, Get Rich.
Mr C.S.Sudheer is a management graduate. He started his career with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and later on worked with Howden India. After his brief stint in Howden India, he moved on and incorporated Suvision Holdings Pvt Ltd which is the sole promoter of IndianMoney.com. He aims to build a nation that is financially literate with investment savvy citizens.