(Sydney Morning Herald) Onions in India are once more at the epicentre of a major controversy, pitting government officials who want lower prices against farmers that need extra income.
Prices of the vegetable, as ubiquitous as spices in Indian cooking, surged more than 200 per cent in September from previous months after flooding from heavy monsoon rains damaged crops and reduced supplies. That's prompted the government to ban exports and crack down on hoarding to lower prices, angering farmers who took to the streets on Monday in protest.
The onion, whose soaring prices have been blamed for bringing down past governments, puts Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tight spot. During his reelection campaign this year, the premier promised to raise incomes for farmers, a key voting constituency that makes up more than half of the electorate. Yet Modi also needs to ensure inflation remains stable, and food prices are already spiking higher.
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