If you need some onions, how do you get them?
Naturally you go to a supermarket or a vegetable shop and buy some, right? Or since the spread of Corona Virus, you may simply pickup your phone and order some onions online.
These might be the solutions for other countries; in our country we have more options: pickup onions from fields on your own and for free!
Does it sound surreal? It should not.
The farmers who have fields under onion cultivation, claim that the selling price is such low that by not selling their crops they rather decrease their loss than harvesting and selling them!
(This should sound surreal).
“The dealers pay 600 tomans per kilogram (about €2cents)”, explains Mohammad-Ali, 42, a farmer. “At this price, it’s not worth to hire workers for harvest”.
As a result, many farmers offer the passers-by to serve themselves!
Last crop year (i.e. 2019-2020) 3.3 million tons of onion was produced in Iran, which is nearly 1 million ton more than a year before.
The onion yield on a hectare is on average 80 tons. According to the farmers, the costs per hectare for onion cultivation are about 100 million tomans. While at the price of 600 tomans per kg, farmers will cover less than half of their costs.
“For those farmers with 20 hectares under onion cultivation, the loss is very considerable”, adds Mohammad-Ali.
“Last year, dealers were just looking for onions to export”, explains Akbar, another onion farmer. “Considering the exchange rate, everyone wanted to sell onions to exporters, it was very profitable.”
However, sudden export (or in many cases smuggling) of onions to the neighbouring countries, created a shortage in domestic market and as a result prices for onion went so high that they made you cry even without pealing them!
But for farmers, cultivating onions became very attractive. This year more farmers assigned their fields to onion cultivation.
But to prevent the shortage again (although the production this year is 1.3 times more), the government already banned the export of onions.
And the farmers who had shifted to onion cultivation, hoping for more profit, now face difficulty to sell their crop.
On the other hand, the surplus has naturally caused prices to fall in domestic market too. The scenario has been already seen for many other products; tomatoes, dates, etc.
Maybe, when Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history”, he had good connections to Iran.