The Cirebon regency government is helping to provide 2,000 tons of shallot seedlings following a shortage in the seeds during the past month.
The assistance aims to help resolve difficulties that local farmers are facing in obtaining shallot seedlings ahead of the May-July growing season.
Cirebon regency's head of agriculture, plantation, forestry and husbandry agency, Ali Effendi, said the supplying of shallot seedlings would help farmers to get the seeds at affordable prices.
'We want the farmers to still be able to grow red onions during the May to July growing season this year,' he said on Saturday.
Currently, the price of shallot seedlings has increased to between Rp 45,000 ( US$4.63 ) to Rp 50,000 per kilogram, up by almost 100 percent from around Rp 20,000 to Rp 25,000 per kilogram.
Nevertheless, Ali acknowledged the administration was still unable to meet the total demand for shallot seedlings in the regency, which reached 3,200 tons per year, as most of the seeds still needed to be imported.
Ali said local farmers who were unable to obtain shallot seedlings could switch their farming to other food crops, in particular paddy and palawija or other crops usually planted as second crops in the dry season, such as legumes. "We will also help them to get the seedlings," he said.
In Cirebon regency, the centers of shallot farming are located in six districts: Babakan, Ciledug, Gebang, Losari, Pabedilan and Waled. The shallot farming areas cover a total 3,200 hectares of land with a production capacity of 21,000 tons per year. ( asw/ebf )