BENGALURU: When onions are making customers cry, the skyrocketing prices have brought huge windfall to an onion grower in Doddasiddavvanahalli in Chitradurga district — farmer Mallikarjuna has become a crorepati in a month’s time.
The 42-year-old debt-ridden farmer, who sowed onion seeds after taking a loan, said that it was the biggest risk he had taken so far. “I would have got caught in a bad debt if the crop had failed or the prices had crashed. But onions have changed the fortunes of my family now,” Mallikarjuna told STOI. He had reaped a bumper crop of 240 tonnes of onion (around 20 truckloads) while the price was racing towards Rs 200 per kg. Mallikarjuna invested Rs 15 lakh, hoping to reap a profit of Rs 5-10 lakh. But he hit a jackpot. Mallikarjuna is now a celebrity in the farming circles in Chitradurga, 200km from Bengaluru. “I have cleared my debt and I am planning to build a house. I want to buy more land to expand the agricultural work,” he said.
Mallikarjuna, who owns 10 acres of land, took another 10 acres on lease to grow onions. He also hired around 50 labourers. Since 2004, Mallikarjuna has been growing onions in rainy season. His profit last year was around Rs 5 lakh. Though farming in that scale is enough to meet his family’s expenses, Mallikarjuna leased out additional land and availed a loan of Rs 20 lakh.
“Unfortunately, I incurred huge losses. But I took another loan of Rs 5 lakh and used my savings to grow onion,” Mallikarjuna said.
Mallikarjuna and his family take turns to guard the crop from onion thieves.

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