GI tag for Alibag white onion would cheer farmers with the higher price.
Alibag, in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, is a renowned tourist destination due to its scenic beaches. However, this historic location will now be acknowledged for the Geographical Indication (GI) labeled white onion. The GI for this onion, known for its sweetness, has been accepted. Last week, it was posted in the government gazette.
‘The GI tag provides a distinct identity to the white onion, which has therapeutic properties and has been grown in a traditional manner for a long time.’ Farmers would gain immediately since the white onion will command a higher price as a result of the GI tag,’ said Ganesh Hingmire, Chairman of Great Mission Group Consultancy (GMGC), who was involved in the process of obtaining the GI tag for Alibag white onion.
Farmers in Alibag claim that white onions have been cultivated here for centuries using only traditional and genuine seeds. Locals have learned and perfected the skills required for white onion growing. According to producers, Alibag’s geo-climatic characteristics distinguish it from other white onion-producing places, and this is why Alibag white onion has evolved a distinct taste, flavor, and shape.
Potential for export
According to Ganesh Hingmire, the GI tag will help white onion farmers in Alibag gain a larger export market. ‘It (the GI tag) increases export potential, which has aided other products such as Chiku (Sapodilla) from Gholwad, Keshar mango from Marathwada, and bananas from Jalgaon,’ he said.
Members of the Maharashtra State Onion Producer Farmer Organization believe the government should boost exports so that farmers do not have to suffer as they did last year.
Maharashtra’s onion exports fell to 5.8 lakh tonnes in FY22, down from 7.9 lakh tonnes in FY21. Growers and traders in Nashik, Maharashtra’s onion heartland, claimed wholesale prices in the domestic market were somewhat higher than export pricing, therefore farmers preferred to sell their produce locally.
‘In addition, rising freight charges and government efforts to prevent export and set higher minimum export prices have discouraged farmers from entering the export market,’ says Bharat Dighole, President of the Maharashtra State Onion Producer Farmer Organization.