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Onions make debt-ridden Karnataka farmer crorepati

Onion grower Mallikarjuna is now a celebrity in the farming circles in Chitradurga, 200km from Bengaluru, after local media reported his success story. "I have cleared my debt and I am planning to build a house. I want to buy more land to expand the agricultural work in the coming years," he said. Mallikarjuna invested Rs 15 lakh and hit a jackpot.

TNN|
Dec 15, 2019, 06.05 PM IST
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BCCL
Malikarujun---BCCL
Mallikarjuna
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 15, 2019)
BENGALURU: Onions are definitely making customers cry. But the skyrocketing prices brought huge windfall to an onion grower in Doddasiddavvanahalli in Chitradurga district - farmer Mallikarjuna became 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, after local media reported his success story. "I have cleared my debt and I am planning to build a house. I want to buy more land to expand the agricultural work in the coming years," he said.

Mallikarjuna, who owns 10 acres of land, took another 10 acres on lease to grow onions. He also hired around 50 labourers. "Water is scarce here and everything is dependent on groundwater. Many farmers have given up agriculture due to the prevailing drought-like situation here," he said. Since 2004, Mallikarjuna has been growing onions in the rainy season. His profit last year was around Rs 5 lakh.

The journey was not easy. The period until October was stressful for Mallikarjuna as onion prices remained low. "When I sold onions in the first week of November, the price was around Rs 7,000 per quintal. Within a few days, it touched Rs 12,000 per quintal," he said. Mallikarjuna and his family members take turns to guard the crop from onion thieves.

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