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Onion Export in India
  • Onion is the largest vegetable produced and consumed not only in India but also in the world. Although, it is classified as vegetable, it has special qualities, which add to taste and flavor to food and hence it is mainly used in India cuisine and culinary preparations. In addition to its use in cuisine, it is also relished in raw form with meals.
  • Onion is consumed by all classes of people-poor and rich and hence assumes a place of essential item. Onion possess very good nutritive and medicinal values- the nutritive ingredients of onion are as follows (Quantities per 100 gm):
  • In Maharashtra, though Nasik, Ahmednagar, Pune and Satara are the major onion producing districts, the production is taken in three seasons, i.e. Kharif (May-July to Oct-Dec.) Late-Kharif (Aug-Sep. to Jan-Mar) and Rabi (Oct-Nov. to April-June). Though onion is produced in three seasons, the onions produced in rabi season are only suitable for storage as the variety grown in this season has higher TSS, dry matter and more number of outer dried intact scales.
Onion Export from Maharashtra
  • Maharashtra is a leading state in onion production. Out of total annual production of about 60 lakh tonnes of country, about 16 lakh tonnes are produced in Maharashtra alone.
  • In Maharashtra, though Nasik, Ahmednagar, Pune and Satara are the major onion producing districts, the production is taken in three seasons, i.e. Kharif (May-July to Oct-Dec.) Late-Kharif (Aug-Sep. to Jan-Mar) and Rabi (Oct-Nov. to April-June). Though onion is produced in three seasons, the onions produced in rabi season are only suitable for storage as the variety grown in this season has higher TSS, dry matter and more number of outer dried intact scales.
  • Onion output is estimated to be a record 95 lakh tonne in 2009-10, compared to around 85 lakh tonne last year," Nasik-based National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Additional Director said.
  • Onion output is estimated to be a record 95 lakh tonne in 2009-10, compared to around 85 lakh tonne last year," Nasik-based National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Additional Director said.
  • He said onion produce per hectare is expected to rise by 13 per cent to 16-17 tonne in top producing states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh from 15 tonnes per hectare in 2008.
  • "Use of crop technology and irrigation has improved onion yields, though acreage remained at last year's level of 5.5 lakh hectare," However, the rich yield is unlikely to translate into lower prices.
    "The wholesale prices of onions are unlikely to fall significantly because farmers are storing the crop in a bigway. Also, higher production cost may not allow them to sell at lower rates," he said. According to NHRDF data, the wholesale prices were ruling at Rs 6-7 per kg today at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia's biggest onion market.
  • Harvesting of the summer or rabi crop, which accounts for 60 per cent of India's onion production, is almost complete and output is estimated to be about 45 lakh tonne. India has three seasons for onion — kharif (winter), late kharif and rabi (summer). The country has harvested 46 lakh tonnes from both kharif and late kharif, it added. Onion has both glucose (reducing sugar) and sucrose (non-reducing sugar). The special quality of onion is its smell (flavour) on account of which it is commonly used in food and masala preparations. The pungent taste of onion is due to volatile oil Allyl Propyl Disulphide present in it.
  • There are hundreds of varieties of Onion grown in the world. According to colour, there are red, white and yellow types. Red and white varieties are grown in India. Although, onion is consumed in all the countries of the world, it is cultivated only in some countries. Hence it has export market and export value. Area under onion cultivation in the world is about 20 lakh hectares. India has the largest area of about 4 lakh ha. (20%) followed by China about 3 lakh ha. But the production is the highest in China (48 lakh MT) as against India (44 lakh MT) due to higher productivity in China (16 MT/ha than India 14 MT/ha). In India, of the four lakh hectares of area under onion, the maximum area of about 95,000 ha (about 24%) is in Maharashtra. Other important states are Karnataka, Orissa, U.P., Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, M.P., Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Gujarat.
  • There are hundreds of varieties of Onion grown in the world. According to colour, there are red, white and yellow types. Red and white varieties are grown in India. Although, onion is consumed in all the countries of the world, it is cultivated only in some countries. Hence it has export market and export value. Area under onion cultivation in the world is about 20 lakh hectares. India has the largest area of about 4 lakh ha. (20%) followed by China about 3 lakh ha. But the production is the highest in China (48 lakh MT) as against India (44 lakh MT) due to higher productivity in China (16 MT/ha than India 14 MT/ha). In India, of the four lakh hectares of area under onion, the maximum area of about 95,000 ha (about 24%) is in Maharashtra. Other important states are Karnataka, Orissa, U.P., Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, M.P., Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Gujarat.
Top Ten Onion Proces Contries- 2010
 Top Ten Onion Produces Contries -2008
  China   20,567,295
  India   12.156.200
  Australia   4,003,491
  United State   3,602,090
  Pakistan   2,015,200
  Turky   1,859,442
  Iran   1,849,275
  Russia   1,857,11
  Brazil   1,299,815
  pakistan   2,015,200
State wise Onion Export Scenario
 state   2006-2007   2007-2008   2008-2009
    Area
(In 000' HA)
 Production
(In Lakh tonnes)
  AREA
(In 000' HA)
 Production
(In Lakh tonnes)
 AREA
(In 000' HA)
 Production
(In Lakh tonnes)
 Maharashtra  242.40  38.12  254.50  40.03  250.00  39.33
 Karnataka  152.30  11.85  157.27  28.87  165.13  30.32
 Gujrat  52.10  12.42  84.30  22.38  57.62  14.10
 Bihar  50.50  9.63  51.30  10.20  51.61  9.47
 Madhya Pradesh  37.90  6.30  39.00  6.49  53.02  8.82
  Othrs  232.73  30.15  234.63  31.03  256.84  33.62
  Totals  767.93   108.47  821.00  139.00  834.23  135.65
  • The Major Onion producing states area Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Maharashtra is the largest producer of onion in India with a market share of 29%, followed by Karnataka with a market share of 22.35% and Gujarat with a market share of 10.39%.
  • Karnataka has almost tripled its production in onions in past 2 years, whereas Gujarat’s production is decreased by almost 37% when compared to last year.
Onion Export in Last Five Years
  Sr. No.   State   Area   Production
(' 000 tons MT)
 Productivity
( tons/ ha)
 1.  Andhra Pradesh  26.00  244.00  9.38
 2.  Bihar  28.75  329.88  11.47
 3.  Gujarath  35.50  750.00  21.13
 4.  Karnataka  53.00  395.00  7.45
 5.  Madhya Pradesh  39.55  517.35  13.08
 6.  Maharashtra  111.65  2409.18  21.58
 7.  Orissa  60.45  522.47  8.64
 8.  Rajasthan  37.75  570.00  15.10
 9.  Tamilnadu  30.50  320.50  10.51
 10.  Uttar Pradesh  69.50  778.75  11.21
 11  Haryana  16.00  329.00  20.56
 12.  Other  45.50  563.00  12.37
   Total  554.15  7729.13  
Onion Varities Grows in Maharashtra
  Sr. No.   Variety   Season   Color  Remarks
 1.  N-53  Kharif  Red  Poor Storage
 2.  Baswant-780  Kharif  Red  Poor Storage
 3.  N2-4-1  Rabi  Brick-Red  Good Storage
 4.  N-257-9-1  Rabi  White  Good Storage
 5.  Phule Safed  All year  White  Good for Dehydration
 6.  Phule Suvarna  Late Kharif /Rabi  Yellow Red  Good for export to Europe
 7.  AFDR  Late Kharif /Rabi  Dark Red  Fairly Good for Storage
 8.  AFLR  Rabi  Light Red  Good Storage
Onion Prouction season in Maharashtra
  Sr. No.   Season   Growing Months   Harvest months  Storage Quality  Remarks
 1.  Kharif /Rainy  June-August  August-September  Poor(1 month)  10 %
 2.  Late Kharif (Rangda)  September-November  November-December  Poor (1 month)  30-40 %
 3.  Rabi /Winter (Pol /Unhali)  December-February  February-March  Good (4-6 month)  50-60 %
Quality Requirements for Export of Onion
  Sr. No.   Country   Colour   Size  Remarks
 1.  Middle East and Gulf(Dubai, Sharjah, Doha, Muscat, Bahrain, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait)  Light red to dark red  40 – 60 mm  Globular /Pungent
 2.  Malaysia, Singapore, Port Kelang & African Ports Globular /Pungent  Dark red to violet  25 – 30 mm  Globular /Pungent
 3.  Sri Lanka  Dark red to light red  25 – 30 mm  Globular or Oval
 4.  Bangladesh, Pakistan & Nepal  Light red to dark red  25 – 30 mm  Globular Pungent
 5.  Europe  Yellowish / brown  60 – 70 mm  Globular /Less Pungent
 6.  Japan  Yellowish / brown  60 – 70 mm  Globular /Less Pungent
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