SRINAGAR: This season, the seedlings, and not the ready-to-eat onions, would bring tears into the eyes of consumers in Kashmir Valley.
As the September floods devastated the nurseries across the Valley, the customers are forced to purchase the onion seedlings from the winter capital Jammu. This variety is, however, being sold at double the rates than the local one.
The previous year, the consumers in the Valley purchased a kilogram of onion seedlings (local variety) for Rs 20 to 25. But this year the seedlings are only available at Rs 50 per kg.
Abdul Rashid, a resident of Nowpora in old city here told Kashmir Reader that the floods hit the nurseries when the seeds had just germinated. And, he said, the produce from the unaffected Villages is unable to meet the demand.
“To overcome the shortfall, the seedlings are now being procured from Jammu. But their prices are much higher than the local variety,” he said.
“The locally produced hybrid variety of the onions is sold at Rs 150 per kilogram—a price double than the last year,” he said.
Muhammad Abdullah Mir, a resident of Batapora near Hazratbal here, told Kashmir Reader the quality seedlings are missing from the market.
“We are unsure about the behavior of non-local seedlings in the soil and conditions of the Valley. But we have no option but to purchase the seedlings from Jammu,” he said.
Market volatility associated with the onions has attracted many growers towards the cultivation of the vegetable.
“Kashmir imports most of its onions from outside states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan as the local produce does not suffice the needs and acts only as a cushion against the high rates,” a vegetable dealer Wali Muhammad Shigan said.
According to Shigan, the locally produced onion varieties have less shelf life, “but new varieties produced outside the state are better”.
He feels that the cultivation this year may be less due to the shortfall in seedlings.