Onion cultivation in Rajshahi may be setback due to an acute shortage and high price of onion seeds and young-saplings of onion this year.
Onion is mainly produced at Durgapur Bagmara, Puthia, Paba and Mohanpur of the district. The farmers of those areas are worried this year as they won't be able to cultivate onion adequately because of scarcity and exorbitant price of onion seeds and saplings.
Sources informed, as price of onion soars beyond the purchase capacity for most of the people of the country, farmers of onion producing upazilas had transplanted onions in their fields to get the raw-onion popularly known as 'dati-onion'. Even, those raw-onions are now being sold at Tk 100 to 120 per kilogramme.
However, farmers are also sowing seeds of onion to produce the quality onion-saplings and some farmers have already started to transplant those saplings in their fields. But, due to an exorbitant price of seed and saplings, many farmers were reluctant to cultivate onion in their fields this year. Farmers from the onion producing upazilas informed, acute seed scarcity has been prevailing and its price has gone up beyond their purchasing capacity. The price of onion saplings in local hats and markets are also out of reach of most of the farmers.
The farmers further said they are visiting every hat and market to procure onion seeds or the saplings but returning disappointed by not getting those at a fair price. Because of a soaring price of onion seeds and saplings, the cultivation of onion may be hampered in the district during the next season, they opined.
Even scanty of seeds which are available at the markets are being sold at Taka from 4,000 to 4,500 per kilogramme as against Taka 2,000 per kilogramme last year.
However, Indian smuggled onion seeds which are seen to be sold by some seed-vendors in various markets of the district is also being sold at Taka 3,200 to 3,500 per kilogramme but farmers are reluctant to purchase Indian seeds because of its low quality. Meanwhile, even at the end of sowing of onion seeds, farmers of the district were scuttling from one hat (village market) to another to procure onion-seed. But, getting no available onion seed anywhere, they are returning disappointed.
Getting no onion seed available at a fair price, many farmers failed to prepare onion seed- beds at their fields to produce onion saplings and thus opting for other crops.
Abdul Matin of Maskatadighi village under Kantakhali Municipality informed, he used to transplant saplings of onion (seed onion) at ten-decimal of land every year. This year, he has cultivated mustard in that field and hoping to transplant onion saplings in that field after reaping mustard. Therefore, he was visiting markets to procure onion saplings to transplant those to the field but those are not available at a fair price.
Meanwhile, Deb Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Department in Rajshahi informed, the cultivation of quality onion has not yet started fully in the district. However, farmers were making seed beds and sowing seeds to produce onion saplings. From the second to third week of January, the cultivation of onion saplings will be started fully and the onion saplings are expected to be available in the market then with a satisfactory market price.