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India's poor harvests lead to job losses at manufacturers

As onion prices rise, demand for motorbikes falls and Honda suspends operations

Prolonged rains have pushed onion yields down an estimated 30%, causing prices for the key ingredient to soar and leaving rural consumers with little cash. (Photo by Moyuru Baba)

NEW DELHI -- Freakish weather and poor harvests are taking a toll on India's rural areas, where consumer spending earlier this year slowed so drastically that the government decided not to release the numbers.

Farmers account for about half of India's population, and their hard times are beginning to spill over into the overall economy. Last week, government data showed the country's gross domestic product grew 4.5% on the year in the July-September quarter, the slowest rate in six and a half years.

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