Onion Profile

World production

onions typesOnion (Allium cepa) is a popular vegetable grown for its pungent bulbs and flavorful leaves. Onion are consumed raw, boiled, fried or as pickle. Also used in medicines and as a flavouring agent. It is widely grown throughout the world. Onions are native to Asia and the Middle East and have been cultivated for over five thousand years. The world produces around 500-550 lakh tons of onion annually. World production stood at 579 lakh tons from an area of 31.80 lakh hectares in 2005.

Global Trade

Annually around 40 to 45 lakh tons of onion is traded globally. Onion export stood at all time high of 46.46 lakh tons during 2004. India stood first in the exporters list with export quantity of 8.33 lakh tons. China, Egypt and USA are other major exporters of onion. Russia is the largest importers contributing for 12% of total world onion imports followed by Bangladesh with 7.77%. Other major importers are UK, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Belgium and Canada.

Indian Scenario

India is second largest onion growing country in the world. Indian onions are famous worldwide for their pungency. India has two crop cycles of onion, one harvesting start in Nov to Jan & second harvesting start in Jan to May. Indian onion is available round the year The Gulf countries are the main importers of the onion bulb, and neighboring Pakistan and China are India's main competitors in the global market. India's Export of onion has increased from Rs. 708.15 Crores (USD Million 159.96) in 2005-06 to Rs.1163.30 crores (USD Million 258.05) in 2006-07. Bnagladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, U.A.E, Pakistan and Nepal are the Major market of Indian Onion.
Year Area (in 000' ha) Production (in 000' mt) Productivity(mt/ha)
2001-02 495.8 5252.1 10.6
2002-03 424.7 4209.5 9.9
2003-04 553.8 6267.6 11.3
2004-05 613.8 7760.6 12.6
2005-06 695.1 9248.4 13.3
Production of Onion in some major states of India in 2006
State Production In Tonnes Percentage Share in Total
Maharashtra 1878800.00 20.31
Gujrat 1876600.00 20.29
Bihar 1011700.00 10.94
Karnataka 1008500.00 10.90
Andhra Pradesh 670000.00 7.24
Others 657300.00 7.11
Madhya Pradesh 639800.00 6.92
Rajasthan 427200.00 4.62
Haryana 317700.00 3.44
Uttar Pradesh 283100.00 3.06
Orissa 243900.00 2.64
Tamil Nadu 233800.00 2.53
Grand Total 9,248,400
Source: National Horticulture Board, India
State wise season wise onion sowing and harvesting patterns in India
onions harvesting patterns in India Source: National Horticulture Board, India
State Wise - Season Wise Distribution (%)
State Wise - Season Wise Distribution