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Chinese garlic casts a magic spell ! Thursday, December 6, 2001
BY SANJAY PANDEY, FOR TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Dragon is here with a vengeance. It is again spitting fire and its breath smells of garlic.
Yes, garlic. After dethroning domestic electronic-goods markets through its low-cost products, it is the king-size garlic from China which is raising a ripple in the market. Gradually consolidating its position in the Indian market, the imported Chinese garlic has already become a must for Indian delicacies. Not just paneer chilli-garlic, Chinese style.
With the Chinese garlic flavour slowly pervading the confines of Indian kitchens, it has grabbed 25 per cent of the three crore kg market in the country. Chinese garlic gained popularity at the outset itself due to its sheer size and milky-white looks. The demand is ever-increasing owing to its huge impressive bulbs.
"The huge bulbs are easier to peel off and handy for restaurants and hotels", says Navin Jain, a wholesale trader in Madhupura market. Chinese bulbs are trying to notch up charts in competition with Indian varieties which are in short supply nowadays. Two consecutive droughts in garlic-growing regions helped the imported bulb to expand in the Indian market.
"Though aroma and flavour of Chinese garlic are no match for the desi variety, its appearance is making a kill," adds Jain.
Drought in garlic-growing regions in the state and in the country made it easier for Chinese garlic to penetrate the Indian market. Eighty per cent of the garlic crop in Jamnagar, Gondal and Rajkot was destroyed due to scanty rainfall in the past two years. Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh and Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh, the two other bulk producers also witnessed production loss.
"Madras and Mumbai ports work overtime during September-April to unload garlic containers from China every alternate day," another trader in the market said.
The current rates (for 20 kg) for garlic are: Rs 900 for small-sized one, Rs 1100 to Rs 1200 for a medium-sized bulb. The full-grown bulb fetches Rs 1300 to Rs 1350. The Chinese garlic in the full-grown bulb variety with less of dust and roots is sold for a premium price compared to domestic varieties.
The Centre has okayed a quota of 20,000 tonnes this year starting in September and ending in April. "The demand for Chinese garlic goes up during winters when the supply of local varieties becomes scarce," says another wholesale garlic trader P N Joshi.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]