Selling Onions In Bangalore

Onion is one of the most sought after vegetable all over the world. Bangalore is no different. From sowing to marketing so many processes take place involving so many stake holders. Read more to know in detail.


Onion has been cultivated and bred since the past 7,000 years. Although a biennial, it is treated as an annual crop. Bluish-green leaves form a fan shaped swathe. The leaves are hollow and cylindrical. They are flattened as they reach the base. Food accumulation occurs in the base where bulbs start swelling and form onions. The plant is harvested when the leaves die back, at this stage the outer layers of onion are dry and brittle. After harvest onions can be stored after drying given that proper storage conditions are maintained.

Onions can be grown directly from the seeds which are glossy black and have a triangular cross section, through transplanting or through bulbs directly. Onions are known for their distinctive strong flavours and smell. It’s pungency sets it apart from other vegetables. This pungency is due to the sulphur based non-protein amino acid – allyl-propyl-disulphide.

Onion Scenario


In  2020 the major exporter of onion was the Netherlands and the major importer was the USA. Worldwide 93,226,400 tonnes of onion is produced per year. China is the largest onion producer in the world with 23,907,509 tonnes production volume per year. India comes second with 19,415,425 tonnes yearly production.

Production in ‘000 Tons 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
China 22,351 22,594 23,441 23,819 24,203 24,601 24,966
India 19,299 19,401 18,927 20,931 22,427 23,262 24,966
Egypt 1,093 2,505 3,050 2,458 2,965 3,067 3,081
USA 3,159 3,167 3,413 3,800 3,737 3,284 3,170
Turkey 1,905 1,790 1,879 2,121 2,175 1,930 2,200
Pakistan 1,661 1,740 1,671 1,736 1,833 2,119 2,079
Iran 2,050 2,066 2,426 2,400 1,700 1,564 1,779
Russia 1,985 1,994 2,102 1,633 1,794 1,642 1,670
Bangladesh 1,668 1,387 1,704 1,735 1,866 1,737 1,802

Source: Ministry Of Food Processing, Operating Greens Scheme, Market Intelligence & Early Warning System


In 2020, the volume of onion production in India was 26 million metric tons grown on 1.43 million hectares. There was a constant growth in production of onion recently across the country except in 2019. Maharashtra and Karnataka ranked the highest for the production of onions during 2020. Overall onion consumption stands at 165 lakh hectares. This is much less than the overall production, but due to irregular weather, high export price of onion stays volatile. 


For the year 2019-20, top 10 states under onion production are as follows,

State Area (‘000 ha) Production (in ‘000 MT) Yield (Ton/ha)
Maharashtra 618.00 10683.00 17.29
Madhya Pradesh 173.89 4270.70 24.56
Karnataka 160.00 2275.00 14.22
Gujarat 58.00 1422.00 24.52
Bihar 58.00 1313.00 22.64
Rajasthan 75.00 1242.00 16.56
Andhra Pradesh 43.00 981.00 22.81
West Bengal 37.39 669.80 17.91
Haryana 24.00 610.00 25.42
Uttar Pradesh 28.00 454.00 16.21

Source: National Horticulture Research And Development Foundation (NHRDF)

Post Harvest Scenario Of Onion

Onions are grown in 2 seasons in India. They are Kharif Onions and Rabi Onions. Kharif is when the crop is sown during the rainy season(June – November). Rabi is when the crop is sown during winter(November – April).

Post harvest condition of onion is determined by a combination of good pre-harvest and storage measures. Under the pre-harvest conditions some factors include using varieties with long shelf life (Agrifound Light Red and Arka Niketan), restrictive use of delayed nitrogen fertilizers, use of ammonium sulphate rather than urea for nitrogen fertilizer and application of organic fertilizers. Over watering must always be avoided. Pre-harvest spray of pesticides showed a major improvement in decay during storage. 

Stage of harvest plays a major role in the shelf life of onions as it is directly related to the physiological maturity of the bulbs. Curing/drying kharif onions under the sun or in a solar dryer with foliage and storing along with the dried foliage is better while drying rabi onions in perforated crates with forced air circulation is recommended. If the crop is cured under the sun(in the field), shade curing following it is necessary to remove remaining heat from the bulbs. Removing the dried leaves(neck cutting) is also done to remove remaining moisture. These 2 steps are very necessary to maintain the quality and shelf life of onions during packing, transportation and storage. Shade curing should be done for 10 days at maximum. This also helps in detaching soil from the dried roots of the crop which is essential to stop microbial infection from soil to the crops. 

Irradiation of Onions – Exposing onion bulbs at any stage of harvest to 60-90 Gy (Grey Unit) radiation to stop them from sprouting in any crop season and condition. The irradiation combined with proper storage conditions can take care of the majority of post-harvest losses of onion. Below is an image depicting the peak and lean seasons of onion harvest in the major onion producing states.

 Lean season
– Peak season
Andhra Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh













Source: Indian Horticulture Database, 2006

Marketing Of Onion In India 

Agricultural Marketing has been defined as the various business activities which help move the commodity from producers to consumers. Although this definition is universal, marketing of agricultural products has its own challenges which non-agricultural commodities do not have. Main objective of marketing is to improve the utility of crops in all dimensions i.e., Time utility, Place utility, Form utility and Possession utility. 

In the case of onion the same objective is aimed at being fulfilled. An efficient marketing system makes sure the producer’s share in consumer’s rupee is high. The difference between what the consumer pays and that which the producer receives is called Price Spread. Higher the price spread the better is the marketing channel.

The major marketing channels for onion are as follows, 

  1. Direct sale to customers 
  2. Through private wholesalers and retailers 
  3. Through regulated markets 
  4. Through processors 

The major channel used is the one through regulated markets or agencies. In Karnataka, there are many concentrated pockets of onion production – Dharwad ,Chitradurg, Gadag, Haveri, Bagalkot, Davengere. There is a set procedure that farmers follow while selling at regulated markets. As the first step, the farmer brings the onions to the market during harvest season. They will be graded and then heaped in different places of the market which is the second stage. The traders or their representatives enter the market and prepare a list of prices offered to different heaps of onions based on quality, size, color etc which marks the third step. Lastly, the slips are processed and the heaps of commodities are assigned to the highest bidder. In the end, the trader settles the transactions and takes away the produce.


Onion is a very volatile commodity. Therefore, handling it from beginning to end decides the market supply which in turn decides the price. More efficient handling of the major marketing channel is necessary. This will help in keeping the price spread fair for every stake holder in the channel, do not let extreme swings in stock availability and prices of the commodity.