The source of our vegetables for most of us is of no concern. Who toils the soil, cares for the crop, basically the entire work it entails before the vegetables reach the market. The only time consumers complain or grow concerned is when prices are extremely high or when there is a shortage in one item. Presently the price of several vegetables keeps rising but soon enough consumers will be facing a shortage of onions. Our news team travelled to the largest onion producing community in the Orange Walk District, San Carlos Village to find out why.

Dalila Ical– Reporter

 In San Carlos Village a majority if not all families make a living through farming. Here farmers grow mainly potatoes, carrots and onions. The latter is produced in the largest quantity by some thirteen to fifteen farmers.

This year however, the production will be cut short, significantly. One farmer, Israel Hernandez says this is due to the inclement weather which has saturated the soil.

Israel Hernandez – Farmer

“Cuando la cebolla está en buen estado lo podemos ver, pero la consecuencia del tiempo lo podemos estar viendo ya podemos ver que esta planta ya se echó a perder entonces a consecuencia del tiempo es que usted ya no ve casi nada en esos meses.”

The farmers have planted mostly yellow onions. The first acreage we visited should have been almost ready for harvest.

Israel Hernandez – Farmer

“Debería de estar listo para comenzando Enero pero por causa del tiempo no hay resultado bueno, positivo para nosotros, quiere decir que ya estamos perdiendo en este pedazo de acre, tenemos sembrado aproximadamente trece acres y medio pero de eso tres acres y medio ya están absolutamente perdidos ya y lo balance de diez acres están en la balanza si vamos a tener o no vamos a tener cebolla y depende del tiempo si sigue el tiempo lluvioso definitivamente la cebolla ya hacer imposible tener.”

This is the first time that rains have affected the crop. The excess water in the soil either stunts the growth of the onion or caused the heads to rot. Those that are still surviving have developed a yellowish colour when farmers say it should appear white.

In another farm, a little over an acre of onions have been destroyed by the rains. Here, the farmer has lost around nine thousand dollars worth in investment. Needless to say, the loss being incurred by these men is considerable.

Israel Hernandez – Farmer

“En un acre aproximadamente seis mil dólares se van comenzando desde mangueras insumos de agroquímicos, fertilizantes, semillas y gasolina pues para ponerle agua en tiempo de sequilla a la cebolla, seis mil dólares por acre.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“Y si ahora no cosechan nada, todo son perdidas?”

Israel Hernandez – Farmer

“Es perdida y en el banco a donde debemos tenemos que ir a reglarlo los problemas y como vamos a hacer.”

And that’s just the lending institutions. Farmers also have to find a way to make ends meet at home. Therefore, the hope is that the rains make way for sunshine so farmers can salvage whatever little crop they can.

Israel Hernandez – Farmer

“Pueda que consigamos tal vez algo no sabemos exactamente si vamos a conseguir o no.”

Today, the skies cleared up for a bit and farmers hope this change in climate persists. And should the weather hold up, the farmers have one more request.

Israel Hernandez – Farmer

“Si vamos a cosechar alguito que Marketing Board se limite su importación para que nosotros podamos vender lo poquito que logramos cosechar a ver si logramos salvar las cuentas que tenemos porque nosotros no sembramos solo así nosotros tenemos que pedir ayuda financiera de bancos y organizaciones.”

According to farmers, on a good year they can harvest up to forty thousand pounds of onions from one acre of land. Their net profit is at least a half of their total cost of production.

In the Orange Walk District, onions are grown in San Carlos, Indian Creek, and Santa Familia with San Carlos producing ninety percent of the total crop on the market. Together, the farmers produce up to thirty acres of onions, a half of the production by farmers in the Corozal District. The department of Agriculture in Orange Walk is projecting a shortage of onions since of the ten surviving acres in San Carlos only two point five acres are being classified as being in good condition when normally the farms are in excellent conditions. The crop in the remaining seven point five acres is merely “surviving”.