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B’onion farmers taken for a ride

Jul 26, 2010 8:00:00 PM - aussieindolanka.com
Lands and Land Development Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon has instructed Dambulla Superintendent of Police to conduct an inquiry into an incident in which a company imported substandard seeds to be sold to B’onion farmers in Dambulla. The racket came to light after it was found that after planting the seeds at the nursery stage, instead of a small onion bulb, what eventually emerged was a large mature onion like yam which had to be disposed of due to rotting. Over 700 farmer families have suffered a severe loss as a result. Farmers who purchased B’ onion seeds from this well-known vegetable seed company in Colombo had realized too late that what the seeds yielded was anything but B’onions. Dambulla B’Onion Cultivators’ Association Convenor M.M.U. Madigasekera told the Daily News that most onion farmers in the Dambulla area had depended on this imported Indian variety due to their low price which is around Rs 1,700 per kilogram. Local onion seeds are very reliable but it has to be purchased for Rs 10,000 per kilogram. Madigasekera said about 13,000 kilograms of B’onion seeds had been sold to the Dambulla farmers by the Company who are the authorized dealers. He said the company continued to give frivolous reasons hoping that the B’onion farmers’ agitation would end soon. "Ultimately the poor farmers who purchased these seeds believing them to be quality seeds were the victims," he said.   www.dailynews.lk/2010/07/27/news01.asp