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Goencho kando can’t be cash crop

Panaji: Despite good demand for locally grown onions, it is unlikely that farmers in the state will be interested in cultivation onions on a larger scale, according to the Goa State Horticulture Corporation.

A senior official at the GSHC on Thursday said that commercial cultivation of onions is not feasible due to climatic and soil conditions  in the state. 

“The onion plant requires soil which is sandy and loose in texture. The soil must be free of flooding. Cultivation in the state is only undertaken in the rabi season and of a particular variety that is suitable to the state. The cultivation is in coastal areas of Salcete, Bardez and Tiswadi talukas where the soil is somewhat suitable,” explained Dattaprasad K Desai, farm manager at the GSHC.

He said that December is the month when Goan farmers plant onion samplings, and the crop becomes ready for harvest in April.

“The yield of the local variety is less and it is not feasible for large-scale cultivation. The Goan onion is sold at a high price of Rs 80-Rs 100 per kg,” Desai elaborated.

According to the GSHC, onions are grown sparingly in small patches of land ranging between 10 sq. mt and 50 sq. mt. It is difficult to estimate the volume of production as the quantity grown is meager. “The local variety is hardy and can be stored throughout the year.  It does not rot unlike the commonly consumed onions that come in from outside. However, since commercial cultivation of it is not possible it is not taken up in the state,” he said.

The GSHC purchases onions mainly from Maharashtra and Karnataka. About 30-40 tonne are purchased by the corporation daily and sold through the GSHC outlets.

Onion prices are expected to moderate after imports from the Centre and the demand-supply situation improves.

Several residents have been calling up ‘The Navhind Times’ to enquire why onions cannot be grown in the state and why the supply of locally grown onions be increased to offset the shortage prevailing in the market.

The local variety is relished by all residents. However, production of it cannot increase because of it being unviable.

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