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* Guaranteed price encourages big onion farmers in Sri Lanka
Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 05:33 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 15, Colombo: Following the government's measure to set a guaranteed price for big onions, more farmers in Sri Lanka have decided to cultivate big onions in the forthcoming season.

Big onion cultivators received a higher price for their crops during the last cultivation season with the government's guaranteed price of Rs. 60 for a kilogram. The cultivators are further encouraged by the increase of import taxes on the commodity.

Deputy Director of the Agriculture Department Prasanna Pallemulla has said that during the last harvest the price of big onions amounted to Rs.120 - 220 per kilogram.

According to the Agriculture Department, in addition to the Mahaweli zone cultivators in the districts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Matale, Kurunegala and Puttalam, farmers in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts have also decided to cultivate big onions in the forthcoming season.

The Agriculture Department expects that big onions will be cultivated in about 9,000 hectares in the upcoming season when the planting starts at the end of July and has accordingly taken measures to produce 25,000 kilograms of seed onions to meet the demand.

Since the local production of seed onions will not be sufficient to meet the demand the government is issuing permits import seed onions from India

The agriculture official said if favorable weather conditions prevail the forthcoming harvest could reap the highest ever local big onion production.

The harvest of the big onions cultivated in 7000 hectares of land in the Hambantota and Moneragala districts will come to the market next month.

The Deputy Director said that the farmers of Moneragala and Hambantota have been enlightened to produce the seed onion requirements for the Southern Province in the two districts.

With the concessions and enhanced interest in cultivating the crop, the price of big onions has become stable, the official said.

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