Onion seeds in demand in North Karnataka

Onion seeds in demand in North Karnataka

Onion seeds is rare crop in the taluk. Farmers with good water supply grow the seeds as a second crop.

Onion seeds grown in a field belonging to Gangadharappa of Reddidyavarahalli in Gauribidanur taluk. dh photo

Little onion tubers are brought from Chikkaballapur, Hindupur and other places and sown. A 50-kg bag of onion earns anything between Rs 300 and Rs 1,500.

The onion crop is grown in rows half-a-foot apart. The plants flower after about a month of replanting. Some farmers sell the petals in vegetable markets. Some others, however, grow the onions for the seeds. The crop is grown for three to four months. Once the seeds are formed, the flowers are picked and dried in the sun to get the seeds.

“Onion seeds have no external market value. The entire taluk might have just a couple of buyers for the seeds. The purchase system follows a barter method of sorts as the seed merchants themselves buy the onion tubers from the markets and supply to the farmers, and collect the price of the tubers when they buy the seeds,” Gangadharappa, a farmer of Reddidyavarahalli told Deccan Herald.

Farmers from Bellary and Haveri come to the taluk every year and stay here for months to purchase the seeds from agents, he added.

“The rate of the seeds fluctuates every year. When the demand is high, a 100 kg bag might be priced at Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000. In contrast, it might be worth barely Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 when the demand falls,” he explained.

“When the rate is very low, we have often just thrown away the onion seeds into the drains.”

Gangadharappa also explained the crop is very delicate and sensitive. “We can never be sure of the outcome till the crop is fully ready. If, when the plants have flowered, there is a sudden gust of heavy wind, the seeds do not develop, but fall off dry. After a span of a year, the seeds do not sprout properly. Then, we cannot even groom such seeds. As a result, the rate for old seeds will not be as high as that of the new ones.”

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