The onion crisis is back – A similar crisis should be avoided in your personal finances

Once in every few years, the onion prices in India start an upward spiral. The humble onion moves from being an everyday purchase to a luxury item! While the average housewife generally budgets Rs 20 for a kilo of onions, now she has to shell out anywhere between Rs 50-100! Hotels get into panic mode because their most purchased item is beyond their budget. Ruling governments have lost elections because of price rise of this one crucial commodity. Such is the power of the onion crisis.

Onion is not a perishable food item. When kept in clean and dry premises, it can last a few months to even a year. So a shortage in such a commodity cannot be blamed on nature alone. Crop damage due to rain is only a minor factor, which can be easily managed. The real problem is mismanagement – from the sowing to the sale. There are also times when the prices drop drastically. This is again a cascading effect of the same problem.

Farmers are not knowledgeable enough about changing soil conditions and weather patterns. Water scarcity and flood situations occur at the same time in the onion belt of Maharashtra and Karnataka, putting the crop at great risk. There is a tight control over the stocks at the wholesale go-downs exerted by the middlemen and hoarders. They manage to artificially create a scarcity and jack up the prices. The food corporations and regulators are not competent to control this mafia. The lack of good storage facilities across villages, towns and cities for stocks is the final bottleneck in this crisis.

As we can see, most of these issues are within human control. They require strong commitment, adequate planning, proper use of technology and punishing the wrongdoers. It’s high time the governments, especially at the states, tackle this problem in its entirety and ensure the onion crisis never recurs.

As an end consumer, we may have no control over the spiralling onion crisis. But we can emulate the learnings from this crisis to our own personal financial management. Whether you are a managing a business or running your household, the following few learnings from the onion crisis will help you a lot.

Plan for tomorrow – Poor financial management will invariably hurt you one day. Just because today you have money in your pocket, don’t assume tomorrow is going to be safe. Unless you plan today, tomorrow’s stability is never assured. We need to make 3-5 year forecasts (business or personal), so that we balance our incomes and expenses in the medium and long term.

Several aspects to consider – Tackling your finances is not just about earning more. There are several aspects to a good financial strategy. Skilling yourself to improve your work position and earning potential is one aspect. Tight control on expenses is another critical point. Savings are equally important. Inventory management, prioritizing expenses, planning for emergencies are other focus areas. Unless you work towards all these goals, your financial position can never be risk free.

Smart use of technology The onion crop cycle can benefit a lot from the use of technology. Reading soil conditions, accurate weather predictions, temperature controlled warehouses, dynamic pricing through online farmer portals are some such technology supported measures.

Similarly, every individual can benefit by smart use of technology. Keep monthly expenditure accounts in excel sheets. Set reminders for prompt bill payments to avoid penalties. Create a wealth portfolio online to track all your investments and monitor their performance on a regular basis. Use mobile banking and digital payments to minimise manual inefficiencies. Did you know there are excellent mobile apps available for tracking your financial goals and positions?

The idea is simple. Whenever a commodity is critical to your well-being, it must be carefully managed and protected. This applies to the humble onion as well as your personal wealth.

We at Shanthala Chits are committed to your financial well-being. Both businesses and households can greatly benefit from choosing chit funds as a regulated, fixed income, secure investment option. They work as a monthly saving tool thus helping you to inculcate the saving habit automatically. You can choose from a variety of schemes with varying instalment amounts based on the financial goal you have set for yourself. When you need to utilize your money, you can withdraw your investment in a hassle-free way with no delays or difficulties.

Shanthala Chits is a Government approved chit fund company with a 23 year successful track record and thousands of satisfied customers. Shanthala Chits is registered under the Chit Fund Act of 1982, Government of Karnataka. We are one of the most popular chit fund houses based out of Bengaluru, known for our prompt customer support and secure investments.

Get in touch with us and start with an investment scheme. We will be glad to help you out with the right scheme that matches your needs.

Anuradha C

Anuradha is a freelance writer cum corporate trainer in the IT/telecom domain with over 18 years experience. She served in senior technical and management positions in Huawei and TCS for 10+ years. Then gave up the traditional corporate ladder to go solo - in order to escape horrendous city traffic and to be at her own boss!
Anuradha C

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