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Low onion acreage could mean tears for consumers
The Times of India: December 06, 2018


AHMEDABAD: If the acreage sown with onions is any indication then bulbous vegetable will again bring tears to consumers’ eyes in the days to come. Till December 3, onion was sown over an area of 12,191 hectares, or just 50% of the area sown in the same period last year.

Till December 3, 2017, onion had been sown on 24,200 hectares in the state. Figures released by the state’s agriculture department reveal that in the rabi season, on average, onion is sown on 46,400 hectares in the state. This year, the acreage is just 26% of the average, or 12,191 hectares.

Officials said that onion is mainly cultivated in Bhavnagar district and other parts of Saurashtra. This year, sowing in Saurashtra is yet to gather pace. Officials said of the 12,191 hectares sown, 10,900 hectares were in Saurashtra.

Ghanshyam Patel, chairman of the Mahuva market yard, said there is not enough water in Saurashtra this year and and farmers hence chose not to sow onions. The acreage sown with onions is not likely to gather momentum as the first week of December has passed.

Apart from their water woes, farmers in 2017 did get remunerative prices for their crop and this may also have kept them from growing onions. Patel said that farmers last year did not even recoup the basic costs they incurred.

Meanwhile, at the Ahmedabad Agricultural Produce Market Committee yard, onions were selling for between Rs 5 and Rs 11 a kg, depending on quality. In the retail market in the city, onions are selling for Rs 25 a kg.

Gordhan Patel, a farmer in Visavadar, said, “This year there is hardly any onion cultivation in the region as people are moving to other crops or are not sowing any crops. I have three bighas of land but because of no water this year, I decided not to sow a commercial crop. I will sow a fodder crop, which will help me feed my cattle and will also bring in some money.”

Sources in the Mahuva market yard, the state’s largest yard for onions, said that this year’s crop will start arriving by December 15. The market is presently getting 7,000 to 8,000 bags a day, which being put in cold storage.

Another farmer, Pratap Sardasiya, says he has sown onions on one half his field and jowar on the other. He said that last year he got Rs 50 for a 20kg bag of onions and this deterred him from sowing the crop on his full four-bigha holding.

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