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  • High Demand And Low Supply of Wheat Amidst Ban

    High Demand And Low Supply of Wheat Amidst Ban

    On 13th May 2022, the government of India imposed a ban on the export of wheat with immediate effect. The government has put all types of wheat exports from ‘free’ to ‘prohibited’ category. This step has been taken citing food security as a reason in neighbouring countries. However, exports to troubled countries like Sri Lanka will continue.

    India is one of the top producers of wheat in the world. Due to the Ukraine-Russia war, there is a huge demand for wheat in the global market. Ukraine and Russia used to export wheat to most of the countries, but due to this war, export has stopped and the demand for wheat is not being met. On the other hand, the wheat crop in India has been weak and domestic demand for wheat has also increased. It is believed that the government has put this ban in place to control the rising prices of wheat and flour in the country.

    Boom in export

    India exported a total of 7 million tonnes of wheat in the financial year 2021-22. In April alone, 1.4 million tonnes of wheat was exported. Wheat demand from India has increased due to the Ukraine-Russia war, while the supply is low due to limited crop this year.

    In April, Consumer price inflation (CPI) hit an eight-year high and reached 7.79%. At the same time, retail food inflation rose to 8.38%. Rising inflation is also one of the reasons behind banning wheat export. 

    Decrease in wheat procurement

    According to government data, in this current year i.e 2022-23, till May 14, the government has procured only 18 million tonnes of wheat. Last year during the same time, the government procured 36.7 million tonnes of wheat. It means 18.7 million tonnes less wheat is procured in the current year as compared to last year. According to official data, on 8th May 2022, the price of one kg of flour was Rs 33, which is 13% more than this time last year.

    Hot weather impact

    The biggest reason for the poor wheat crop this year is the weather. The sudden rise in temperature in the month of March has caused great damage to the crops. Starch, protein and other dry matter accumulate in the wheat crop in March itself. For this, the temperature should not exceed 30°C. At 30° C, grains start appearing and their weight also starts increasing. But this year the temperature had crossed 35° C in mid-March and reached 40° C by the end of March. As a result, grains ripened prematurely and shrinked in size also.

    Foreign countries have expressed their disagreement with India’s decision. Now let’s wait and watch what will be the effect of this decision taken by the Government of India in both domestic and international markets. Also, whether the government will reconsider this decision.

  • The Indian Mango Agri Value Chain

    Mango or Mangifera indica (derived from the Sanskrit word ‘manjiri’) is India’s national fruit. It is popular among the masses and is grown in almost every Indian state. Plus it is consumed raw, ripe and in the form of juices, pickles, jams, etc. Even mango wood is used as timber, and its leaves and dried twigs are often used for religious purposes. Today let’s dive deep into the mango agri value chain and follow the journey of the ‘King of fruits’ from the farm to your dinner table.

    Mango Production

    The top 5 mango-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, and Gujarat. These five states contribute to more than 60% of the total mango production in India. There are 1,500 mango varieties grown in India of which 1,000 can be sold commercially.

    Top 5 Mango Producing States In India
    Top 5 Mango Producing States In India
    Top Commercial Varieties Of Mango
    Top Commercial Varieties Of Mango

    Mango Cultivation

    Mangos are cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Therefore they can be grown successfully across India, but commercial farming is not possible in areas above 600 m. Well distributed rainfall in the range of 75-375 cm per annum, and dry weather before the blossoming period are ideal for optimum mango production. As a rule mangos don’t thrive in areas with extreme weather conditions like severe frost or high temperatures combined with low humidity and high winds.

    Mangos are usually planted by small and marginal farmers (86.2% and 93.5% of mango farmers fall under the ‘small and marginal’ category) between July-August in areas that receive high rainfall and between February-March in irrigated areas.  They reach a suitable height and develop a canopy at 5-6 years of age. Until then, farmers take up intercropping whereby leguminous crops, vegetables, cereals, and even spices like chillies are grown in mango orchards. Once a mango tree attains maturity, it is economically viable for more than 35 years.

    Mango orchards start yielding fruits from the sixth year, though the yields vary depending on the mango variety, climate, soil quality, agricultural inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, irrigation, etc.  On an average, a mango orchard yields between 5 to 9 tons per acre. Even these production levels can be increased if farmers get proper information and pre-harvest inputs like fertilisers and pesticides.

    Importance of Post Harvest Contractor (PHC)

    PHCs are usually the first stakeholder in the mango value chain. They enter into a contract with different farmers usually four months before harvest season. The farmers usually transfer their production and marketing risk to the PHCs and most farmers do not market their products directly. The PHC is involved in all stages – from transporting mangos to mandis to selling them to commission agents. However, the PHCs are not when it comes to selling to exporters since exporters directly purchase the mangoes from the farmers.

    Post Harvest Processes

    Harvesting and Grading

    Mangos are harvested early in the season to capture an early market. They are harvested manually – by hand or by using poles. After harvesting, mangos are graded on their size, colour, and maturity. To ensure uniform ripening, the smaller fruits are separated from the larger ones. They are ripened by using Calcium Carbide, ethylene gas, or by dipping in ethrel solution. Mature fruits on the other hand are ripened with lower doses of ethrel.

    Storage

    Green mangos can be stored at room temperature for about 4-10 days. They are layered with rice straw and stored in ventilated storage rooms. If mangos have to be stored for longer periods, then they are usually cured (spread on the floor or in orchards on paddy straw to reduce their metabolic rate). Export quality mangos are usually sorted, cleaned with water, cured, and then stored in cold storage. There are rules for mango storage facilities in each state, and the type of storage (simple or cold storage), the storage period, and the method have been specified.

    Packing

    Traditionally mangos are usually packed in rectangular wooden boxes, bamboo boxes, or jute gunny bags. Nowadays, cardboard boxes, plastic crates, poly bags, flexible sacks made of plastic, and open mesh nets are available. Plastic crates pallet boxes and shipping containers are also used.

    Transport

    Mangos are usually transported to nearby mandis in trucks, bullock carts, auto-rickshaws, or mini trucks based on the distance from the orchards to the mandis. To avoid excessive heat in the day, most of these transits happen at night. When mangos have to be transported in bulk over long distances, rail transport is used. Indian Railways even offers air-conditioned containers to reduce spoilage. Apart from the railways, air and water transport are used to export mangos.

    Trading

    There are important markets per state. You can find a list of mandis and the top mango varieties sold in each of those mandis in our previous article. Mangos are mainly sold to wholesalers and commission agents in mandis. Mangos usually arrive in these markets from April/May and this lasts till August. Mangos are first sold to meet the local requirements, then sold to mandis in other states.

    Main Channels For Agri-Trade
    Main Channels For Agri-Trade

    Mango Processing

    Processing plays an important role in the mango agri value chain. Mango puree/pulp is a smooth and thick product that is extracted from certain mango varieties in such a way that the insoluble fibrous parts of the ripe mangoes are broken up. It thereby retains all the fruit juice and a huge portion of the fibrous matter. Mango pulp or concentrate is used to make juices, jams, fruit cheese, and various other kinds of beverages. It is used extensively in the food industry. Processing mangos can create various shelf-stable products that last throughout the year. Apart from mango pulp, products like mango pickle, mango leather, dried mango powder, etc. can also be derived from processing mangos.

    Products Derived From Mango
    Products Derived From Mango

    About Bijak

    Bijak is well aware of the vast demand for mangos. Accordingly, Bijak aims to learn from the agricultural ecosystem to create more trading opportunities for Indian mango traders. Bijak is India’s No. 1 agri-trading app that acts as a meeting point for Farmers, Commission Agents, and Suppliers for 100+ commodities. You may call us at 8588998844 or email us at contact@bijak.in. You could also download our app from Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

    Bijak also understands the traditional bookkeeping practices of commission agents and the associated hassles. ChargeERP mandi accounting software has been designed by Bijak keeping this in mind. It is a cloud-based accounting software introduced with the core aim of reducing the agent’s workload. ChargeERP is the easiest, fastest, and most secure mandi accounting software available in India. It can be accessed from the mandi, home, or anywhere else using multiple devices. It provides data security with end-to-end encryption. Plus, it doesn’t require any kind of technical or accounting expertise.

    Sources:
    Agricultural Value Chains in India by Ashok Gulati, Kavery Ganguly, Harsh Wardhan
    Report on Mango from nhb.gov.in
    Mango Fruit Processing: Options for Small-Scale Processors in Developing Countries by Willis O. Owino and Jane L. Ambuko
    Utilization Of Mango And Its By-Products By Different Processing Methods by Keshwani Deeksha and Sunita Mishra
    Post Harvest Profile Of Mango by Ministry of Agriculture (Department Of Agriculture & Cooperation) Directorate Of Marketing & Inspection, Branch Head Office, Nagpur

  • The Indian Mango Trade Story

    Mango Trade

    Mangoes are considered the king of fruits throughout the world. Mangoes are special because of their sweet taste and juiciness. The scientific name of mangoes is Mangifera Indica. From ancient times, mangoes were grown in India but with time Brazil, West Indies, Mexico and other countries have also started growing it.

    Amazingly, mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. In Bangladesh, the mango tree is considered as their ‘National tree’.

    Mango Production

    India is the largest producer of mangoes. After India, China and Thailand are the biggest producers of mangoes. India contributes about 56% of the total global production. While India is the biggest contributor to the cultivation of mangoes, it doesn’t have a significant share in international trade. This is because Indian mangoes don’t meet international standards.

    To increase export of mangoes, farmers and traders need to focus on the quality of mangoes. There are mango research centres in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and Maharashtra’s Vengurla. Today Kesari and Hapus are in high demand in foreign markets.

    Most liked varieties of Mangoes in India

    Some of the popular varieties of mango grown worldwide are Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Irwin, Honey Ataulfo, Francis, Hapus Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli, Chausa, Subarnarekha and Kesari. In India, more than 1,500 varieties of mangoes are grown.

    Let’s have a look at some of the prominent varieties:

    Alphonso

    Alphonso or Hapus is known for its sweet taste. It is grown in the Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Raigad districts of Maharashtra. However, in recent years, it is also being grown in Karnataka and Gujarat.

    Dasheri

    Dasheri mango is known for its juiciness. This is majorly grown in north Indian states. It is grown in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and nearby villages such as Nandi Ferozepur, Kakori etc.

    Chausa

    Chausa aam is a popular type of mango in north India and Bihar. This is mostly available between summer and monsoons.

    Kesar

    This is well known for its taste and saffron (Kesar) like smell. This is grown in areas near Gir Sanctuary such as Junagadh and Amreli districts. This has also received a GI Tag.

    Badami

    Badami mango is also known as ‘Alphonso of Karnataka’. It is sweet in taste and is pale yellow in colour.

    Totapuri

    Totapuri got its name because its shape resembles to a parrot’s beak. This is not as sweet as compared to other varieties of mangoes. This is used to make a salad, achar(pickles) and other delicacies. This is mainly grown in Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

    Himsagar

    This mango is grown in West Bengal and Odisha and has a sweet fragrance. This is primarily grown in the Murshidabad district in Bengal. This is a medium-sized mango in yellowish-green colour. It weighs around 350gm and is available for a short span between May and June. This is consumed in mango shakes and to make sweets.

    Banganpali/Safeda

    Banganpali is quite big in size. This egg-shaped mango is generally 14cms long. These are grown in the Banaganapalli district of Andhra Pradesh. This has also got a GI Tag. In north India, it is known as Safeda.

    Malda

    Malda mangoes are grown in the Malda district in West Bengal. It is also known as Fazli mango. Malda has a huge demand in foreign countries.

    Raspuri

    Raspuri is grown in the old Mysore area in Karnataka. It is also grown in Bangalore, Ramanagara, Kolar, Chikkaballapur and nearby areas. This is known as the queen of mango in India.

    Supply and demand of mangoes in Indian Mandis

    If we look at it from a business perspective, after Alphonso and Kesar, Safeda, Chausa and Totapuri are the most preferred varieties.

    Let’s see which variety of mango is famous in which market.

    Types of mangoes (April 2022)

    Azadpur Mandi (Delhi)

    Banganpali/Safeda

    Langra

    Hapus

    Chausa

    Dasheri

    Kesar

    Totapuri

    Badam

    Indore Mandi (Madhya Pradesh)

    Badam

    Totapuri

    Banganpali/Safeda

    Langra

    Hapus

    Amritsar Walla Mandi (Punjab)

    Dasheri

    Chausa

    Lakhanwa

    Langra

    Totapuri

    Hapus

    Ludhiyana Mandi (Punjab)

    Dasheri

    Chausa

    Himam

    Totapuri

    Hapus

    Jalandhar Mandi (Punjab)

    Safeda

    Totapuri

    Chausa

    Kesar

    Dasheri

    Jabalpur Mandi (Madhya Pradesh)

    Badam

    Dasheri

    Totapuri

    Hapus

    Sahibabad Mandi (Uttar Pradesh)

    Dasheri

    Banganpali/Safeda

    Hapus

    Dehradun Mandi (Uttrakhand)

    Dasheri

    Banganpali/Safeda

    Hapus

    Khandsa Mandi, Gurugram (Haryana)

    Dasheri

    Chausa

    Langra

    Narod Mandi Ahmedabad, Gujrat

    Hapus

    Kesar

    Surat, Gujarat

    Hapus

    Kesar

    Siligudi/Guwahati Mandi (Assam)

    Banganpali/Safeda

    Lalmuni

    Totapuri

    Hapus

    Future of Mango Business

    With changing times and digital revolution, a change has been witnessed in the traditional mandi business. Earlier traders use to trade with nearby farmers, suppliers and buyers only. But now with the entrance of technology-driven players like Bijak, the way of doing mandi business is changing. Now to sell or buy a commodity, a buyer or supplier just needs to download the Bijak app. In just a few clicks, you will be connected with verified farmers, suppliers and buyers spread across pan India. You could do business as per your requirement on Bijak. You can also connect with verified mango traders over call or message. So don’t wait, download the app and start trading mangoes or other commodities.

    Mango Export

    For the past two years, the world is going through a roller-coaster ride caused by Coronavirus. This has drastically impacted the global business. As an impact of this, the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) stopped the export of Indian mangoes in 2020.

    Before Covid-19, there was a strong export relationship between India and America. As per statistics, India exported 800MT of mangoes worth $2.75 Million in 2017-18. Similarly, in 2018-19, the trade volume was 951MT worth $3.63 Million. In 2019-20 this further increased to 1,095 MT of mango worth $4.35 Billion.

    There is a high demand for Indian mangoes in the United States and 2022 has brought in good news for mango traders. United States Department of Agriculture has given permission to the Indian government to reinitiate the export. India has started export of Alphonso to America.

    We believe that this information will be useful in your business. Do share this mango related information as much as you can. If you wish to know more about the Indian agricultural business then let us know in the comment section. If you are interested to know more about mandi business via Bijak blogs then do let us know in the comment section. Don’t forget to follow our social media handles.

  • Indian Government’s Bold Steps Towards Boosting Onion Production

    Indian Government’s Bold Steps Towards Boosting Onion Production

    India today is the second-largest producer of onions in the world. Be it for domestic use or international exports, onions are always in demand. It is also one of the most volatile crops as the price of onions can fluctuate quickly, thereby affecting household budgets across the nation. Price fluctuations are usually a result of more demand and less supply. This shows that despite onions being cultivated three times a year in ten onion-producing states in India, there is still room for improvement.

    At times of low supply, the Indian government ensures that the prices don’t fluctuate by taking measures like shutting down exports and releasing buffer stocks into the market. We have explored the Indian onion export market in our previous article and all aspects show that it is not to be taken lightly. When onion supplies are low, the government always ensures that the domestic demand for onions is met on a priority basis before it is exported. Sometimes bans are imposed on exports altogether and imports are initiated until the prices stabilize. Though this is good for the masses, it isn’t good for Indian onion exporters or for the importing countries. These sudden export restrictions have not gone down well with other countries, especially with countries like Bangladesh which consumes 30-35% of the total Indian onion exports. Therefore there is pressure on the government to find a solution quickly.

    Understanding the reasons behind onion price fluctuations

    Price fluctuation is majorly caused when there is a disparity in demand and supply. This disparity could be caused by various reasons like incorrect usage of farm inputs, bad weather, inadequate storage facilities, costly transportation, etc. In 2021, all these factors affected the onion supply of India.

    Onion is a kharif crop and is mostly grown in Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka. In 2021, due to unexpected heavy rainfall in Karnataka and Maharashtra, there was massive crop loss. This crop was meant to be bought to the market after September 2021. If things went according to plan, this harvest would have helped in fulfilling market requirements. The next lot of kharif crop from Maharashtra was supposed to come in towards the end of October.

    Heavy rains in September 2021 not only damaged crops in Karnataka but also impacted stored onions in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Rain in the onion belt of Ahmednagar, Nashik, and Pune in Maharashtra caused water seepage into the storage structures. Farmers of Maharashtra suffered storage loss of up to 50-60%, which is more than their usual storage loss of 30-40%.

    This unexpected rainfall and ensuing damage to stored onions have spiked the onion prices in mandis. Agriculture officers also said that the shelf life of the onion was lower in 2021 due to the overuse of urea. Growing petroleum prices also increased transportation costs, and this too contributed to the price fluctuation.

    The government realized that there was a need to increase onion production. This would ensure the availability of onions to meet the high demand. This would also help keep price fluctuations in check and help create a buffer stock in case the traditional onion growing states were hit by any natural calamities in the future.

    Steps taken by the government to increase onion production:

    India has three main onion growing seasons – kharif, late kharif and rabi. You can read more about it in our previous post. The rabi crop has the least moisture content of the three since it is harvested during the summer months. This makes it easy for farmers to store. This crop is used to meet the requirement of the mandis till the next crop is harvested. As a general rule, India produces more onions than it consumes. However, our country has the potential to increase production, and this is required to feed the growing population as well as the growing demand for onions abroad. Here are the steps taken by the government towards that end:

    Increasing area under onion production

    There are 10 Indian states that have been growing onions to meet the country’s consumption and export requirements. After April 2021, the government of India understood the importance of increasing production. Taking a step in this direction, in April 2021, the central government asked five non-traditional onion-growing states (Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh) to increase the onion production area. They asked these states to increase the area sown under the crop by 9,900 hectares in the kharif season to keep price fluctuations in check.

    During the crop year July 2020 to June 2021, onions were grown on almost 41,081 hectares in the non-traditional states. In 2021, the area has been increased to 51,000 hectares. Here are the stats for the five states.

    Area under onion production in 5 states
    Area under onion production in five states

    Improving storage facilities

    In India, onions are mostly stored in ventilated storage structures but moderating humidity is still a challenge. While big warehouses have such facilities, the farmers don’t have such facilities. To know more about the different storage facilities available in the country, read our post. The government procures rabi onions every year to maintain buffer stocks. However, it’s not possible to store perishable goods for a long period. Therefore, adequate and scientific storage facilities are the need of the hour. The ICAR Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Pune, has developed low-cost onion storage structures which have between 5-50 tonnes of storage capacity and have the potential to reduce storage losses by 20-50%. They have also created an IoT-powered solution. However, they need to be commercially implemented across the country. Agritech startups are now coming forward with solutions to track the storage conditions and alert farmers on the onset of rot, etc. Cold storages that can help maintain the controlled temperature and relative humidity conditions, along with low construction and running costs are also being proposed.

    Consider an integrated model

    For optimum onion productivity, the entire onion supply chain should be considered. This means looking into the preharvest as well as post-harvest processes and refining them. Even basic preharvest processes like providing the right education to farmers along with access to good farm inputs like the right varieties of onions that are storable can make a huge difference.

    Focus on dehydrated onions

    There is room to increase investments in dehydrated onions which have a long shelf life and have export potential. Onions can be dehydrated to prepare onion chips and onion powder, both of which are popular in European countries. Dehydrating fresh onions reduce wastage upto 3 to 4%. The Indian consumers have adopted milk powder, ginger-garlic paste, and frozen peas in the past and therefore with the right push, they will be open to dehydrated onions too.

    About Bijak

    Bijak is well aware of the vast domestic and international onion demand and how its rates keep on fluctuating depending upon seasonal factors, production cycles, export imports, etc. Accordingly, Bijak aims to learn from the agricultural ecosystem to create more trading opportunities for Indian onion traders. Bijak is India’s No. 1 agri-trading app that acts as a meeting point for Farmers, Commission Agents, and Suppliers for 100+ commodities. You may call us at 8588998844 or email us at contact@bijak.in. You could also download our app from Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

    Bijak also understands the traditional bookkeeping practices of commission agents and the associated hassles. ChargeERP mandi accounting software has been designed by Bijak keeping this in mind. It is a cloud-based accounting software introduced with the core aim of reducing the agent’s workload. ChargeERP is the easiest, fastest, and most secure mandi accounting software available in India. It can be accessed from the mandi, home, or anywhere else using multiple devices. It provides data security with end-to-end encryption. Plus, it doesn’t require any kind of technical or accounting expertise.

  • Indian Onion Export Market – The Bijak Perspective

    Export of onions In India

    Indian onions are in huge demand, both in India and abroad thanks to their strong pungent flavour. In fact, more than 15 lakh metric tonnes of onions worth ₹2,826.50 crores were exported during the year 2020-21. In our last article, we got an in-depth view of the onion agri value chain in India from Navdeep Vyas, AVP of Operations at Bijak. Today, he takes us through the nitty-gritties of the Indian onion export business.

    What makes an export-grade onion?

    Indian onions are popular because of their strong pungent flavour. Indian onions are usually made up of kharif and rabi onions. Kharif onions are planted between July to August and harvested between October to December. Rabi onions on the other hand are planted between December to January and harvested from March to April, the summer months. About 60% of onion production happens during rabi season and these onions are stored to meet domestic as well as export demand till the arrival of the kharif onion crop. As a general rule, rabi onions store well and are preferred for exports. This is because rabi onions tend to be dry and therefore can withstand transportation via rail, road or freight shipping.

    “Export quality onions are pretty different from what you may get at the local super market,” says Navdeep. “For example, you may have noticed small bruises on your locally purchased onions. But export quality onions will not have these. They are usually graded on size. They can’t be less than 65 mm in diameter. This is because bigger onions factor in volume efficiency and shrinkage. Volume efficiency stands for the number of onions that can be packed into a container, the average container being 20 feet long and with a capacity to hold 20 tons. When it comes to shrinkage, all onions shrink at the time of transportation. Therefore the bigger the onion, the better its chances of arriving in a good state.”

    Freight shipping of onions
    Onions are shipped after being packed into containers

    Some of the most common varieties that are exported are White Onion, Red Onion, Bangalore Rose, Podisu and Krishnapuram Rose. Certain varieties of yellow onion such as Suprex, Granex 55, Granex 429, Arad- H, and Tana F1 are exported to European countries.

    “Export quality onions are pretty different from what you may get at the local super market. For example, you may have noticed small bruises on your locally purchased onions. But export quality onions will not have these.”

    What are the main elements of the onion export process?

    The usual onion export process is as follows:

    Indian onion export process Infographic
    Indian onion export process – Infographic
    Onions packed for shipping
    Onions packed for shipping

    Who imports Indian onions?

    India exports both fresh and dehydrated onions to other countries. However, fresh onions constitute around 70% of the total onions exported from the country. “Bangladesh is our biggest customer, consuming 30-35% of the total Indian onions exports.” says Navdeep. “This is closely followed by Malaysia which imports Indian onions worth 400 to 500 crores every year. UAE comes in third with an annual import of onions worth 300 crores. The other major export destinations are Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, UAE, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal and Singapore. When it comes to exports to Arab countries, our biggest competitor is Pakistan. This is because they have better road connectivity with Middle Eastern countries.”

    “One of the biggest challenges facing onion export is the rules and regulations of the importing country. For example, Arab countries require exporters to have only 16 – 17 licenses that pertain to quality parameters like land quality, pesticide quality, etc. European countries on the other hand require exporters to show at least 70 licenses.”

    Even though USA, Canada, UK, Germany and other European countries import onions on a large scale, India only exports a tiny quantity to these countries owing to the strict quality parameters. “These countries are also very stringent with their rules – for example, if they find even one tiny bug among the onions, they will reject the entire consignment. Therefore Indian onion exporters prefer to focus on Asian and Middle East countries.”

    Who consumes Indian onions?

    “The huge demand for Indian onions is driven by the Indians settled in these countries. Bangladeshis have food preferences similar to Indians and therefore are huge consumers of Indian onions. Qatar and UAE have a huge percentage of Indians living there. A major chunk of these exported onions go into the HoReCa sector of these countries.”

    Indian onions used by Indians settled abroad
    Indian onions are used by Indians settled abroad in their cuisine

    How can we improve Indian onion exports?

    Government Export Policies

    “India is in a comfortable situation because we do produce more onions than we consume. Whenever there is a shortage, the Indian government cuts down exports, releases buffer stocks, and starts importing onions. For example, in 2019, the Indian government banned onion exports in order to stabilize the soaring price.”

    Currently, the government allows the export of onions only after the domestic requirements are met. The government has also imposed the Minimum Export Price (MEP), the least price at which a commodity can be exported in order to regulate the prices. Even though these measures are beneficial for the masses, they can adversely affect exporters. Therefore, there is a need to have a stable export policy.

    “India is in a comfortable situation because we do produce more onions than we consume. Whenever there is a shortage, the Indian government cuts down exports, releases buffer stocks, and starts importing onions.”

    Improve yields

    “Even though India is the second-largest producer of onions in the world, we have very low yields,” says Navdeep,” For example, India’s output per hectare is 17.13 tons per hectare, while China produces 21.97 tons per hectare, and the US, a whopping 56.39 tons per hectare. With higher yields, we can definitely do more business.”

    “Our biggest stumbling block is that the average Indian farmers lack knowledge on basic things like what is the right pesticide to use, the right fertilizers, etc., that can maximise their output. Therefore, they can’t take advantage of all the resources available to them. Now compare him to an American onion farmer who would have in-depth knowledge on the subject. Over the past few years, agritech startups have sprung up that focus on educating and providing farm inputs at affordable rates to farmers. Therefore, we can expect to see better onion yields in the coming years.”

    Onion cultivation
    Onion cultivation

    Increase face to face interactions

    “Another thing I notice is that most Indian exporters rarely work on building rapport with their clients,” says Navdeep,” Instead they rely greatly on recommendations from brokers and trusted parties and the LC or Letter of Credit. If a company abroad wants to import Indian onions but lacks the resources, they usually place their assets as collateral and get a local bank to issue an LC. Most Indian exporters therefore focus on the LCs. I have come across many exporters who have never even met their clients face to face even after years of trade, because they’ve been doing business based on these documents. However fraudulent LCs can also be produced and this is a bitter lesson for many exporters. In such cases, those who really suffer are the cargo agents and commodity suppliers who are waiting on their payments.”

    “Another thing I notice is that most Indian exporters rarely work on building rapport with their clients. Instead they rely greatly on recommendations from brokers and trusted parties and the LC or Letter of Credit.”

    Better storage facilities

    60-65% of the total onion production of India is consumed by the domestic market and 15-20% is exported. However, 20-25% is lost during the post-harvest stage with rot and sprouting. Up to 20-25% of the weight of the stored onions is lost during storage. Therefore the right storage method plays a major role in reducing weight loss during storage.

    Onions kept in storage
    Onions kept in storage

    Exporters usually have good storage facilities, and some of these facilities are even maintained in India by international retailers. However, there is room to increase onion storage across the country. This will greatly reduce the high volatility in onion prices, that tends to affect exports.

    Hope we were able to shed some light on the much-glamourised export business. The more you get to know the work done by the various stakeholders in the agriculture sector, the more you appreciate the simple onion sitting on your kitchen counter. We hope you enjoyed this article. Tell us your favourite takeaway in the comment section below. Also, stay tuned for more articles from Bijak experts in the future.

    About Bijak

    Bijak is well aware of the vast domestic and international onion demand and how its rates keep on fluctuating depending upon seasonal factors, production cycles, export imports, etc. Accordingly, Bijak aims to learn from the agricultural ecosystem to create more trading opportunities for Indian onion traders. Bijak is India’s No. 1 agri-trading app that acts as a meeting point for Farmers, Commission Agents, and Suppliers for 100+ commodities. You may call us at 8588998844 or email us at contact@bijak.in. You could also download our app from Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

    Bijak also understands the traditional bookkeeping practices of commission agents and the associated hassles. ChargeERP mandi accounting software has been designed by Bijak keeping this in mind. It is a cloud-based accounting software introduced with the core aim of reducing the agent’s workload. ChargeERP is the easiest, fastest, and most secure mandi accounting software available in India. It can be accessed from the mandi, home, or anywhere else using multiple devices. It provides data security with end-to-end encryption. Plus, it doesn’t require any kind of technical or accounting expertise.

  • 6 Pests and Diseases That Can Damage Your Onions!

    Pests and Diseases That Can Damage Your Onions

    Out of all the vegetables grown in India, onions are probably the most important one of all. It is used throughout the country and therefore onions are cultivated thrice a year to meet the huge domestic and international demand. However, the returns from onion production are hampered by the fluctuating weather and price trends. Also, pests and diseases too hamper onion yields. Every year, onion harvests face a lot of damage and uncertainty due to pests and diseases.

    Today, let’s learn about the six pests and diseases that harm onion crops.

    1. Purple blotch disease

    It is one of the most common diseases in onions caused by a fungus named Alternaria Porri. It usually starts out as purple lesions on old onion leaves before turning brown/yellow. As the disease progresses, the leaves turn dry and the bulbs will be affected leading to the rotting of onion bulbs in storage. Purple blotch can be controlled by using pathogen-free seed/sets. Proper spacing of onion bulbs to increase air circulation and regular weeding can help prevent this disease. Similarly, it’s recommended that onions be harvested in dry weather so that they can be cured properly before leaf removal.

    Purple Blotch Disease in Onions
    Purple Blotch Disease in Onions

    2. Cervical Rot

    This onion disease is caused by the Botrytis allii fungus. The bulbs are usually affected at the neck before the decay spreads to affect the whole bulb. The scales of diseased bulbs become soft and brown. This is followed by a dense grey mould growth and hard, black, crust-like structures on the bulbs. However, the onions may look perfectly healthy from the outside and the rot begins to show only after the affected onions have been in storage for a few weeks.

    Cervical rot of onions can be prevented by the usage of good-quality seeds. Similarly, crop rotation, conservative use of nitrogen, and regular watering can prevent this disease. Make sure that the bulbs are dry while harvesting and cure them properly before storage.

    Cervical Rot in Onions
    Cervical Rot in Onions

    3. Downy Mildew

    A fungus named Peronospora Destructor is the cause of this disease. This disease manifests as a fine, furry, greyish-white growth on the surface of older leaves. It then affects the seed stalks and flower parts before proceeding to infect the bulbs.

    To prevent this disease, choose healthy seeds and bulbs, to begin with. Ensure that the leaves dry between irrigation cycles. Similarly, ensure proper airflow between plants and proper drainage of fields to prevent dampness.

    Downy Mildow Disease in Onions
    Downy Mildow Disease in Onions

    4. Thrips

    Thrips are a very common onion pest. They are very small in size and they cannot be seen easily. Thrips feed by punching through the leaf surface and then extracting the sap from plant cells. These puncture wounds lead to white or silvery patches that can weaken the immunity of the plants and make them susceptible to other diseases. They can also attack the crop after harvest or during storage, reducing the quality of the onions.

    To reduce the infestation of thrips, plant barrier crops like maize or wheat around the onion fields. Also, do lab tests on the plants to ensure that you spray insecticides when the thrips population crosses 30 thrips/plant density. Reducing the usage of nitrogen and doing crop rotation too can help curb thrips.

    Thrips In Onions
    Thrips In Onions

    5. Termite

    Termites cause major losses to farms in general. When it comes to onions, termites attack onion plants grown in sandy or light soil. They attack the roots and stems of the plants. They also create termite hills near the fields, making them harder to kill. Termites can spread very rapidly and damage the harvests quickly.

    It’s important to use healthy transplants and to plant seeds in well-irrigated soil to discourage termites. Proper irrigation and crop rotation can reduce termite attacks by allowing the soil to recover nutrients. Similarly, spreading organic matter or farm waste on the soil can distract the termites from attacking the plants.

    Termites in Onions
    Termites in Onions

    6. Aphid

    Aphids are attracted to the strong scent of onions. They usually live on the onion plant leaves or on the bulbs in storage. Aphids suck the sap out of plants causing them to collapse and sometimes they also spread viruses. They can spread quickly to make the plants wilt, turn yellow, dry up, and collapse. Usually, aphids are kept in check by natural predators like birds. To discourage aphids, keep the plants well irrigated and fertilized. Similarly, inspect the crops and remove and burn plants infested with aphids before they spread. Do regular weeding as well. Ensure the health of your onions since aphids usually attack plants that aren’t robust.

    Aphids in Onions
    Aphids in Onions

    As you have seen how much these pests and diseases are harmful to the onion crop. Due to this, the hard-grown crops of farmers get destroyed. By saving onion crops from these pests and diseases we can increase the production of onions. Better produce will make sure that mandis are getting a higher supply of good onions, and it will benefit the farmer, commission agent, and customer together. Bijak app came forward to make onion trading better than ever for the farmer, commission agent, and customer.

    Bijak is well aware of the vast domestic and international onion demand and how its rates keep on fluctuating depending upon seasonal factors, production cycles, export imports, etc. Accordingly, Bijak aims to learn from the agricultural ecosystem to create more trading opportunities for Indian onion traders. Bijak is India’s No. 1 agri-trading app that acts as a meeting point for Farmers, Commission Agents, and Suppliers for 100+ commodities. You may call us at 8588998844 or email us at contact@bijak.in. You could also download our app from Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

    Bijak also understands the traditional bookkeeping practices of commission agents and the associated hassles. ChargeERP mandi accounting software has been designed by Bijak keeping this in mind. It is a cloud-based accounting software introduced with the core aim of reducing the agent’s workload. ChargeERP is the easiest, fastest, and most secure mandi accounting software available in India. It can be accessed from the mandi, home, or anywhere else using multiple devices. It provides data security with end-to-end encryption. Plus, it doesn’t require any kind of technical or accounting expertise.

  • Delhi’s Mandis To Get A Facelift

    Revamping Delhi Mandis

    Last week, the Delhi government has passed a budget of ₹476.89 crores for the development of mandis in the capital. The government targets to revamp the mandis in the financial year 2022-23. Other than Azadpur Mandi, the Agriculture Produce Market Committee and Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board have given about ₹13.34 crore to Fruit and Vegetable Market in Ghazipur and ₹13.96 crore to FP and EMC in Ghazipur. They have also given ₹8 crore to Flower Bazar and ₹18.91 crore to APMC Keshopur. 

    Agriculture Minister in Delhi government, Gopal Rai said that along with Tikri Khampur wholesale market, Ghazipur’s fruit and vegetable market and poultry market will also be developed. Also, there is a plan to renovate the Ghazipur flower market.

    In the meeting of Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board, Agriculture Minister Gopal Rai said that with this budget of huge amount, many new projects in all the mandis including Ghazipur, Azadpur, Tikri Khampur will get momentum.

    Rejuvenation of Azadpur Mandi

    At present, many farmers come to Azadpur Mandi to sell vegetables and fruits. Sometimes they have to stay for a day or two. For this reason, a Kisan Bhawan has been built in Azadpur Mandi so that farmers can stay there. Hence to improve the facilities for farmers, the Kisan Bhawan of Azadpur Mandi will be renovated. 

    CCTV cameras in all mandis

    CCTV cameras will be installed in all the mandis for surveillance. This will ensure safety and security alongside help in keeping an eye on mandi activities. Apart from this, this will help in identifying people visiting mandis. 

    Different budgets for different mandis 

    1. APMC Azadpur – 178.73 Crore
    2. Fruit/Vegetable Market Ghazipur – 13.34 Crore
    3. FP & EMC Ghazipur – 13.96 Crore
    4. Phool Mandi Ghazipur – 8 Crore
    5. APMC Keshopur – 18.91 Crore
    6. APMC Narela – 45.03 Crore
    7. APMC Najafgarh – 5.32 Crore
    8. DAMB – 193.57 Crore

    The way Delhi government is rejuvenating the mandis by thinking about the farmers and the mandi traders, similarly, Bijak App is striving to digitally transform India’s agriculture business. Where one can connect with buyers and suppliers through call or chat by viewing live rates from 2000+ mandis of India for 200+ top products and enhance agriculture business through payment and truck booking facilities.

  • Why Are Lemon Prices In Indian Mandis Soaring?

    Rising lemon prices in mandis

    The people in India were yet to recover from the shock of rising prices of petrol-diesel, CNG-PNG, LPG cylinders, edible oil, and then there came another breaking news – a sudden jump in lemon prices. Lemon has now gone up to ₹300 per kg, leaving behind even the exotic fruit range. For the first time in the last 44 years, lemons have become so expensive.

    Why did lemon prices increase suddenly?

    Lemon is mainly grown in five states Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat is the largest producing state. But last year, the storm Taukete that hit Gujarat and Maharashtra caused a lot of damage to the lemon crops. Since then, there hasn’t been much supply of lemons from Gujarat and Maharashtra. Besides, the lemon supply from Andhra Pradesh has also reduced. Therefore, the prices have suddenly shot up. Simultaneously, the rising prices of fuel also have had an effect.

    The demand for lemons increased at the beginning of April due to sudden rise in temperatures and festivals (Ramadan and Navratri). However, the supply of lemons has been comparatively less. This gap between demand and supply is one of the primary reasons for the rise in lemon prices. The cost of transportation has also been adversely affected due to the cost of diesel.

    What do lemon merchants have to say on this?

    Traders are upset as currently, only a few people are buying lemons. The sellers of Azadpur Mandi (Delhi) say that the cost of good quality lemons is now ₹250 per kg. As people are buying less, trade has reduced by more than half.

    40-45% of lemon supply comes from Illur and Gudur mandis of Andhra Pradesh. 10% supply comes from Telani and Rajahmundry mandis. Farmers producing more than 20 thousand lemons belong to Illur mandi. Generally, 25 trucks (21 tonnes in one truck) run daily to supply lemons all over the country. But now the count has been reduced to only 5 trucks. That means the supply has been sliced to 1/5th.

    Traders of Jamalpur Darwaza Bandh Market in Gujarat say that lemons also come from Maharashtra, Chennai, and Karnataka. During the summer season, 150 tonnes of lemons are consumed daily in Ahmedabad itself, whereas presently, the supply is only around 70 tonnes per day. A trader of the Kalupur vegetable market said that this time the lemon supply from South India has also been less.

    Lemon sellers in Jaipur’s Muhana Mandi say that besides rising temperatures, the consumption of lemons has also increased due to Ramadan and weddings. But lemon is not being supplied according to the rising demand. Farmers are thus taking advantage of the situation and charging arbitrary prices for lemons.

    Another seller says it’s difficult to sell or buy 100 lemons for ₹500 to ₹1,000. Lemon was ₹240 per kg in Indian mandis on April 1, 2022. But now the prices have gone up to ₹300 per kg.

    What will be the scenario in the coming days?

    According to experts, the prices of lemons will not remain sky-high for long but it will take another one and a half to two months for the prices to normalize. The fall in prices will happen only when the new lemon crop arrives. The new trees that might have been planted in Gujarat and Maharashtra will also take time to grow. Therefore, there will be a shortage of lemon supply from these states.

    Although it might take months for the prices to come down, you can still keep track of the latest changes in lemon rates from 2,000+ Top Indian Mandis with Bijak agri trading app. Here, you will not only be able to check & compare prices of 200+ commodities but also avail end-end agri trading services for your business. Presently, the app is being used by over 30,000 agri traders to connect and trade with reliable Buyers and Suppliers across India.

    *Disclaimer: The information published in this blog is for general information purposes only. This blog has been prepared after much research, yet we recommend that you do not use it as a basis for any legal or business decision.

  • Bijak Celebrates 3 Years Of Revolutionizing Agritech

    Bijak's third anniversary

    From humble beginnings in 2019 to being recognized as The Most Innovative Agritech Startup by Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) in 2022, we feel privileged to have served the agritech industry for 3 fabulous years. Since its launch in April 2019, Bijak has expanded its presence across every state and union territory covering 2,000+ regions in the country. 30,000+ agri traders have seen tremendous growth in their businesses by connecting & trading with reliable counterparties using Bijak agri trading platform.

    2021 was an amazing year of growth, transformation & new launches. As Bijak turns 3, we would like to share some insights on how our vision of revolutionizing the agritech industry has brought smiles to thousands.

    Bijak highlights
    Bijak’s achievements over the last three years
    New Bijak launches
    New Bijak launches

    In 2022, we are focusing on optimizing agri trading services with an advance payment guarantee, 24/7 payment facility, and goods insurance; while continually strengthening our end-to-end offerings for traders across India.

    Started from a few and today we’re 300+ people strong! For us, this is just the beginning. We’re strong-willed to transform the agritech space by reaching new heights every day.

    We acknowledge the tremendous efforts our team has put in over the years. Also, we thank all our customers and stakeholders for their trust in us.

    With this, we look forward to delivering seamless agri trading services for many more years to come.

  • Onion Agri Value Chain: The Bijak Perspective

    Onion Agri Value Chain

    Onions are widely used in kitchens across India. In fact, it can be a bit challenging to find Indian recipes that don’t use onions. Apart from culinary purposes, onions also have medicinal value. But have you ever wondered how the humble onion reaches your plate, every day, throughout the year? We spoke to Navdeep Vyas, AVP, Operations at Bijak to get a better understanding of the onion agri value chain in India.

    India is the second-largest producer of onions in the world, after China. There is a huge demand for onions within India. Apart from domestic consumption, there is also a huge export demand for this crop. The onion value chain comprises mainly farmers, suppliers, commission agents, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. Since many big players are registered users of the Bijak app, Navdeep has the pleasure of observing the intricacies of the onion agri value chain.

    “It is not as simple as farm to fork. There are many people involved at every step of the process, and there are few distinct stages, each of which adds to the value of the product that reaches your plate.”

    Stage 1: Onion Cultivation

    “The two seasons for onion production are kharif and rabi. Kharif onions are usually planted between July to August and harvested between October to December, whereas rabi onions are planted between December to January and harvested between March to April. When farmers plant their onions, they factor in the price of various inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, labour, etc to their final crop,” says Navdeep. Kharif onions usually contain a little bit of moisture content when they are harvested. They have to be dried for a week or two (maximum up to a month) before they can be transported. Rabi onions, on the other hand, are harvested during the summers and don’t have this issue. Therefore they are always in huge demand.

    Onion cultivation
    Onion cultivation

    The top onion-producing states in India are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka. Maharashtra usually tops the list because of consistent high yields, owing to high soil quality. “Even though India is the second-largest producer of onions in the world, the yield per acre is low when compared to US and China”, says Navdeep. Maharashtra’s high yields and superior quality onions are what make it an evergreen winner.

    Stage 2: Inventory

    After onion cultivation, comes the inventory stage. This involves harvesting the crops and transporting them to storage. This is an expense in itself. However, storage poses an added expenditure for a particular reason.

    “Most storage facilities can hold between one to three lakh metric tons of produce and the storage fee begins at ₹7 per kg. However, most of these facilities are not up to the mark when it comes to preventing spoilage. Therefore Indian farmers expect 15% wastage at the storage level. This too gets added to the cost.”

    Storage is usually filled by April and the commodity is readied for sale towards the end of April. This is when things move to the third stage. And this is where Bijak steps in.

    Onion Storage
    Onion Storage

    Stage 3: Marketing

    “Once storage opens for trade, the onions are sorted into bags and transported to nearby mandis for auction. Each of these processes are labor-intensive. For example, onions are usually sorted and graded by labourers within the farms and make-shift facilities. If machine sorting is used, then they have to be sent to packing and grading centres that have such machinery. Then comes packaging. Onions are packed into 50 kg bags after sorting. Nylon mesh bags and jute bags are often used for packaging. Jute wicks away the moisture and is ideal for transporting onions over longer distances. They also cost more than nylon mesh bags, so once again this becomes a business decision,” says Navdeep.

    Packing onions in nylon mesh bags
    Packing onions in nylon mesh bags

    Transportation

    Bijak app enables pan India trade between verified suppliers and buyers (including commission agents and institutional buyers). But apart from this, Bijak also provides a truck booking feature on the app which allows buyers and suppliers to book timely and reliable transportation for their commodities.

    Truck Booking from Bijak App
    Truck Booking from Bijak App

    “Bijak makes sure that the trucks are weighed using a weighing bridge before they are loaded. This shows the weight difference of a truck when it is empty and after it’s loaded. This is done because onions often shrink during transportation. The weighing bridge allows suppliers and buyers to gauge the actual shrinkage that has happened. It also ensures that the commodities are not offloaded anywhere during transit.”

    Apart from trucks, Bijak also enables transportation of onions by rail for certain users. Rail transport is cheaper but it does take longer. A train may have X number of bogies set aside for carrying commodities and it may stop at different destinations to fill the quota. Rail transport is recommended when the unloading location is further away. Onions are usually transported to Assam, Nepal, and Bangladesh through rail.

    “Once the train reaches the unloading location, the onions are transferred to trucks and transported to the final destination. We’ve seen that most Bijak users who book transportation for onions choose to send trucks directly to the unloading location.”

    The cost of transporting via rail is ₹1 per kg, whereas truck transportation usually costs between ₹4 to ₹5 per kg.”

    Truck filled with onions and ready to go towards destination
    Truck filled with onions and ready to go towards destination

    Trade

    Even though Maharashtra is the biggest producer of onions, the biggest consumers are the South Indian states of Telengana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Therefore there is a constant flow of commodities towards the mandis in these states.

    After the onions reach the mandi, trade begins in earnest. “Each mandi has a particular onion consumption rate,” says Navdeep. “For example, a truck carries between 25 to 30 tons of onions. Now if we take the case of Malakpet Market of Hyderabad, its consumption is 60 to 80 trucks per day. When the number of trucks arriving are lower than this, the price of onion increases and vice versa. Similarly, each mandi has a minimum bidding rate set by its committee. Onions are usually auctioned off based on these bidding rates. Then let’s factor in the commission percentage charged by commission agents, bilti paid to suppliers, and other expenses like auction set-up, etc. Similarly, once the onions are auctioned off, you can expect the final buyer to add his profit margin to the final produce as well.”

    Onion being sold to final user
    Onion being sold to final user

    This is the onion agri value chain in a nutshell. Every single crucial process adds to the cost of onions so that by the time the farmer’s crop which cost around ₹4-6 per kg reaches you, it may carry a price tag in double digits. Next time you look at an onion sitting innocently in the kitchen, we hope you take a moment to appreciate the long journey it’s taken to reach your plate. We hope you enjoyed this article. Tell us your favourite takeaway in the comment section below. Also, stay tuned for more articles from Bijak experts in the future.

    Bijak is well aware of the vast domestic and international onion demand and how its rates keep on fluctuating depending upon seasonal factors, production cycles, export imports, etc. Accordingly, Bijak aims to learn from the agricultural ecosystem to create more trading opportunities for Indian onion traders. Bijak is India’s No. 1 agri-trading app that acts as a meeting point for Farmers, Commission Agents, and Suppliers for 100+ commodities. You may call us at 8588998844 or email us at contact@bijak.in. You could also download our app from Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

    Bijak also understands the traditional bookkeeping practices of commission agents and the associated hassles. ChargeERP mandi accounting software has been designed by Bijak keeping this in mind. It is a cloud-based accounting software introduced with the core aim of reducing the agent’s workload. ChargeERP is the easiest, fastest, and most secure mandi accounting software available in India. It can be accessed from the mandi, home, or anywhere else using multiple devices. It provides data security with end-to-end encryption. Plus, it doesn’t require any kind of technical or accounting expertise.