Head of the Central Sulawesi Food and Horticulture Plant Office Trie Iriany Lamakampali remarked in Palu on Tuesday that a garlic cultivation program from the Ministry of Agriculture was being applied in all regions, including Central Sulawesi.
However, Lamakampali noted that not all regions in Central Sulawesi were suitable for garlic cultivation.
"Red onions can be grown in almost all regions in Central Sulawesi," he pointed out.
Lamakampali revealed that in 2019, the Central Sulawesi provincial government had set a target to grow garlic on 550 hectares spanning the districts of Poso, Parigi Moutong, Donggala, and Sigi in the province.
He claimed that only a few farmers had cultivated garlic in Central Sulawesi in some areas, including Sigi, one of the areas that had become the center for the development of horticulture plants.
"Yes, the existing planting area merely reaches some 145 hectares," he stated.
Lamakampali drew attention to the fact that specific soil and climatic conditions were the prerequisites to grow garlic and also highlighted the importance of proper and correct maintenance.
The demand for garlic in Central Sulawesi is highly dependent on imported garlic commodities from China and Thailand. Moreover, the commodity sold in the market today is of the imported variety.
Garlic is one of the food commodities required by the community, and its price has shot up before the month of Ramadan. Moreover, while entering the holy month of Ramadhan, the price of garlic at the retail level tends to rise steadily and is a matter of concern.
Garlic is currently priced in the market at Rp80 thousand per kilogram (kg), from only some Rp25 thousand per kg otherwise. In addition to garlic, the price of shallots has also risen and is sold by traders at around Rp50 thousand per kg.
In fact, several regions, including the districts of Poso and Sigi, are the centers of shallot production. However, the fact is that the stocks produced by local farmers have reduced, while the community's demand has increased.
Traders in Palu are left with no choice but to bring in onions from outside the region, such as Enrekang and Pare-Pare in South Sulawesi Province.
EDITED BY INE