Jaffna onion farmers face financial hardship

[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 July 2004, 04:08 GMT]
Market watchers warned that unplanned cultivation and increasing use of artifical fertilizers to grow onions are leading Jaffna farmers to face a tough market where the price of onions has plunged to less than Rs.12 per kilo in Colombo due to oversupply, Jaffna daily Uthayan reported.

Onion farm in Jaffna
Onion field in Atchuvely, Jaffna
Although distributors in Colombo have warned the Jaffna farmers to spread harvesting the onions along a longer time frame or to store them temporarily to smooth the impact of oversupply, the farmers do not have the option to store their produce for long, the report said.

Heavy use of amonia, nitrogen based artificial fertilizers produce onions whose water retention characteristics are not as good as those produced from using natural fertilizers. The farmers, after harvesting the onions, are therefore forced to take the produce to the market without keeping them in storage for long.

Mr.S.Sivanesan, Agricultural instructor in Uduvil, Jaffna, said that farmers should use natural fertilizers not only to produce good quality onions, but also to prevent saturating and damaging the fertile soil with expensive chemical byproducts of the artificial fertilizers.

Planned cultivation is also necessary to mitigate market impact from oversupply, he said according to the report.

 

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