Local onion farmers cry foul as imports cause hardships

Published : 9:09 am  November 14, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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 By Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa  

With the receipt of large stocks of imported big onions, the farmers in Dambulla said they were facing hardships due to the inability to sell their onions.  

The big onion farmers in Dambulla, Galewela and Sigiriya point out that they are compelled to destroy their produce due to large quantities of big onions being imported from India, which are being sold on a large scale at the Dambulla Economic Centre these days.   

One such farmer from Pattiwela in Galewela, named S.A. Ratnapala said that this situation has emerged because the customers are willing to buy a kilo of foreign onion which is sold at Rs. 80 and 85, in spite of the fact that a kilo of local onions is available for sale at Rs. 60 and 65 in the market.   

He also said that although he cultivated about 30 acres of onions, he has thrown out more than 75,000 kilos of onions due to his inability to sell them. In addition, he has been forced to destroy big stocks of onions daily from his store rooms as they had gone bad after being kept too long. He said he had decided to give up the cultivation of onions in future although he is a cultivator who provides employment to about 60 persons who will lose their jobs as a result.   
In the meantime, the farmers in Dambulla, Sigiriya and Galewela have requested the government to come up with a programme to intervene in the process so that local onion farmers would not be short-changed in this manner in the future.  

They said further that the reason for this problem is the sale of onions imported from India at a low price in spite of the fact that a tax of Rs. 40 was being levied for the importation of big onions.