Leeks

Leeks

Introduction

Leek (Allium porrum) is a typical cool climate vegetable which belongs to the family Liliacea and it is being successfully grown in up country wet zone (1000 - 2000 msl and 2500 - 5000 mm rainfall) which is the most suitable area for leek cultivation. Leek can also be grown in up country intermediate zone (1000- 1500 msl and 1500 - 2250 mm rainfall). Large Long Summer is the only variety recommended and it is very popular among the farmers. Leek is a long age crop (4? - 6 months) compared to other up country vegetables. In Nuwara Eliya, farmers cultivate leek in a mix cropping system with beet, carrot and lettuce to increase the crop productivity and land used intensity. In this area it is being cultivated year round under irrigated condition with the addition of high organic matter. Leek is tolerant to wet weather and frost. The total extend cultivated is around 1250 ha (Table 1). The present per capita availability is 0.8kg/person/year. The post harvest loss for leeks is around 30 %. Leek has a good potential in the export market and presently it is sent to Maldives islands, Middle east and other countries (Customs Department 1999).


Nutritional value of the leek
The nutritive value (per 100g dry matter) of leek is given bellow.

Energy (K.Cal)

29

Protein (g)

02

Fiber (g)

1.4

Calcium (mg)

70

Iron (mg)

7.5

Carotene (mg)

1.8

Thiamin (mg)

0.07

Riboflavin (mg)

0.11

Niacin (mg)

0.8

Vitamin C (mg)

29.0


Recommended Varieties
Large Long Summer

Nursery Management
Nursery: 8 to 10 weeks
Seed Rate: 3000 to 4000 gm / Ha

Field Establishment
Planting Spacing:15 cm X 10 cm

Crop Management

Fertilizer:
(Kg / Ha)

Urea

TSP

MOH

Basal

90

275

50

Top Dressing-1 ( 4 WAP )

90

--

--

Top Dressing-2 ( 4 WAP )

90

--

50

Top Dressing-3 ( 4 WAP )

90

--

--

Top Dressing-4 ( 4 WAP )

90

--

50

Diseases:Purple blotch ( Alternaria porri )

Harvesting & Post-harvest Technology
Yield Potentia : 30 to 40 tons / Ha
Yield: 30 - 40 tons /ha
Time Taken to First Harvest: 90 to 115 Days after Transplanting.

Economics & Marketing

Extent and production

The extent and the production over Maha and Yala season during the period of 1991 - 1999 are presented in Table.


Extent and Production of Leek during 1991-1999

Year

Maha

Yala

Total

Extent
(ha)

Production (mt)

Extent
(ha)

Production (mt)

Extent
(ha)

Production (mt)

1991

388

5877

306

5006

694

10883

1992

434

6214

362

5293

796

11507

1993

576

8329

471

7095

1047

15424

1994

581

8428

475

7179

1056

15607

1995

553

7509

462

6396

1015

13905

1996

652

8036

487

7191

1139

15227

1997

785

10595

557

8135

1342

18730

1998

680

9007

605

8561

1285

17568

1999

794

10607

654

9220

1448

19820

Source: Economic division, HORDI, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya, 1999

The total extend ranged between 694 - 1448ha and the production range between 10883- 19820mt during 1991-1999 period. It was also evident that the cultivated extent and production during the Maha season were greater that of the Yala. This is probably due to the availability of water during the Maha season compared to that of Yala season.


Major Production Months

Nuwara Eliya district produces 90% of the total production of Leek and it is cultivated throughout the year. Hence, production of leek is more or less stable and there is no real peak production month as other vegetables.


Export value
Export volume and export value of leek for the period of 1993-1999 is presented in Table.

Export volume and export value of leeks for the period of 1993 - 1999

Year

Quantity (mt)

Value (Rs x Million)

1993

203.2

4.74

1994

327.2

14.16

1995

424.6

22.30

1996

958.5

42.82

1997

895.5

43.21

1998

216. 6

19.07

1999

249.9

16.86

Source: Customs Department, 1999.

The export volume and the export value during 1993 - 1999 periods are presented in the Table 2. It could be noted that there was an increase in export volume of leek in 1996 and 1997.


Price Fluctuation

Cost of Production

The unit production cost for the period of 1998 - 2002 is presented in the Table.

Production cost of leek for the period of 1998 - 2002

Year

Average yield
(t/ha)

Unit cost of production
(Rs/kg)

Net return
(Rs/ha)

1998

25.0

5.61

262100

1999

25.0

5.61

262100

2000

25.0

5.61

262100

2001

25.5

5.50

286250

2002

26.5

5.29

294300

Source: DOA vegetable task force report, 1998

Assumption: Cost of production of 140400 Rs/ha and average production price (farm-gate price) of 16.10 Rs/kg.

Major portion of the cost of production accounts for labour (40%) and fertilizer (30%). The other important factor that contributes to high cost of production is seed (15%). The cost of fertilizer could be cut down; if farmers realized the benefit of use of straight fertilizer which reduces the fertilizer cost by 40-50%. Labour could be saved if mix cropping with beetroot or carrot is adopted. Cost of pesticide could also be cut down if need based spraying for pests and diseases is adopted.