High quality, big size and good flavour have brought better price for garlic produced on Kodaikanal hill this year. Now, hill garlic is being sold at farm gate for Rs.100 to Rs.120 per kilogram. Prices of hill garlic was hovering between Rs.50 and Rs.60 a kg last year.
Garlic procurement at the farm gate has enhanced the profit margin indirectly.
“Normally, we transport the produce in private trucks to Vadugapatti in Periyakulam block, the nearest wholesale garlic market, 80 km away from Kodaikanal hill. A sizable amount will be drained in freight charges. With growing demand, buyers procure garlic from farmers directly in the farms,” says M. Sundara Vadivel, a garlic grower in Mannavanur. “Buyers will take care of freight expenditure.”
“Adoption of advanced technologies, selection of high-yielding varieties, use of sprinkler irrigation and proper post harvesting management practices help us improve production,” says R. Baskaran of Klavarai.
Even as failure of monsoon and shortage of rain haunt garlic growers this year, farmers have managed to protect the crop to get better yield by resorting to sprinkler irrigation, recalls M. Santhanam of Poomparai.
Market sources said prices of hill garlic had gone up this season owing to sharp increase in demand. Moreover, a majority of people did not like to use garlic imported from China owing to its mild flavour.
Direct marketing and elimination of middlemen have turned garlic cultivation into a commercially viable horticulture venture and fetched a better price for growers, said S. Raja Mohamed, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Kodaikanal.
“This will slowly turn farmers into businessmen. We motivate garlic growers to use advanced machinery and equipment to manage labour shortage and cut production cost. Training has been given to a section of progressive farmers on value addition to boost their income and they were given sprinklers with cent per cent subsidy.”
Garlic was being cultivated on about 370 hectares in Poomparai, Poondi, Kavunji, Kookkal, Gundupatti and Mannavanur on upper Kodaikanal.
The average annual production on the hill was 2,250 metric tonnes, he said.
Garlic is being cultivated on 2.09 lakh hectares in the country.
Madhya Pradesh tops in garlic production with 26 per cent, followed by Gujarat with 19.11 per cent, Uttar Pradesh 16.77 per cent, Rajasthan 11 per cent, Odissa 5.25 per cent and Bihar 2.03 per cent.