Farmers say they have been cultivating it for generations
Rangaswamy was sorting out the onions in his backyard for transporting it to Bangalore, even as his four-year-old son was looking on. To a question, he said he had inherited onion cultivation from his forefathers.
Mr. Rangaswamy is not the only person doing so in Kallahalli, a village at about 13 km from Chitradurga and having about 2,000 population. Almost all residents of the village are traditionally engaged in the cultivation and marketing of onions. Most of them say it has been passed on to them by forefathers. None seem to have even tried any other crop. However, some farmers do not seem to know why they have not tried any other crops.
“I really don't know why I am cultivating only onion. I am continuing what my father was doing throughout his life,” said Honnappa (52).
But Mr. Rangaswamy seems to have analysed it better. He said: “Onion is one crop that yields quickly, compared to others. Yields can be very high if the climate remains conducive.”
Last year, most of the farmers in Kallahalli could not even recover their costs of cultivation, according to a few. At present, the price of first quality onion stands at Rs. 1,040 a quintal and that of second quality is Rs. 720.
According to Mr. Rangaswamy, some profit may accrue to the farmers if the market price touches around Rs. 2,000 a quintal. Cost of cultivating onion is estimated at Rs. 25,000 an acre, which is stated to include the cost of transportation to Bangalore. Since the Kallahalli onion fetches remunerative price in Bangalore, the farmers seldom sell it in local market.
Kallahalli alone transports around 700 truck loads of onion every year to Bangalore. Each load means around 250 gunny bags weighing around 65 kg of onion each.