Some of them had cultivated after pawning their jewelry or obtaining bank loans, and are now unable to pay back the money.
One farmer committed suicide recently at Habarana.
Big-onion cultivations in Dambulla, Galewela, Habarana, Palugaswewa, Galkiriyagama, Devahuwa and Sigiriya have been the worst affected.
Farmers request the government grant them crop damage or a grace period to repay the loans.
Politicians do not care
V.G. Jayasundara of Dambulla said they are helpless as no politician has come forward to look into their grievances.
Agriculture state minister Wasantha Aluvihare represents Matale district, but he has not brought the plight of the farmers to the attention of the state.
Started around 30 years ago, big-onion cultivations are spread across between 3,500 and 3,800 hectares in Matale, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura districts and also in Hambantota.
Some farmers turned to other crops due to the dry weather some months ago and low prices in the market, with especially Matale having only 10 per cent of its big-onion land brought under cultivation this season.
National organizer of the Agrarian Services Conference Namal Karunaratne has told the media that they would take to the streets if authorities failed to solve their problems.