Low cost storage of onion for enhancing income of farmers

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11On farm Storage of onion after harvest with proper storage technology increases the profitability of onion growers. A farmer can earn Rs. 25,000.00- 30,000.00 more income by storing it for about 5 months using a ventilated structure measuring 10 X 12 X 10 feet rather than selling his produce just after harvest. Onion is commercially grown in some pockets of Hooghly district of West Bengal producing around 55,700 tonnes annually from 2,600 ha land. Farmers are compelled to sell their produce after harvest at low prices as proper storage facilities are not available with them which results lower income from the crop.

KVK, Hooghly came to know the problems of storing of onion and less income from the crop during training programmes organized in the village ‘Beleswar’, one of the major onion growing village. With aim to store onion bulbs farmers are advised through training and demonstration to grow onion with application of Single Super Phosphate as basal fertilizer to provide sulphur to the crop. Spraying of sodium chloride @ 100g/litre and Maleic hydrazide @1g/litre at 15-20 days before harvest are recommended for better curing and reduction of sprouting at storage, respectively.  They were advised to keep crops in sun after harvest for 3-4 days for curing. The cured bulbs are stored in a ventilated structure developed by National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), Nashik and introduced by this KVK with slight modification. The storage room is made with brick wall having two rows of windows at opposite walls for cross ventilation. Roof is made with paddy straw to keep the room cool and to minimize cost. Inside the room the main storage structure is made with split bamboo by making racks of 3 feet wide and 1.5-2.0 feet gap in between two racks to allow four way ventilation. The cost of preparation of such a room of 10 X 12 X 10 feet with storage structure having capacity of 50q is around Rs. 50,000.00. Loss can be reduced upto 20-30% and farmers can increase their income by 40-50%.

Economics of stored bulbs:

12Initial selling price of 50q bulbs @ Rs. 9/kg is Rs. 45,000.00. After 5 months of storage quantity of bulbs becomes 40q (Due to rotting and weight loss). Price after 5 months of storage @ Rs. 20/kg is Rs. 80,000.00 for which average storage cost will be Rs. 8,000.00. Therefore extra income after 5 months of storage is Rs. (80,000.00-45,000.00) – Rs. 8,000.00 = Rs. 27,000.00. With the help of the technologies described and using this storage structure farmers may get 40-50% more income after storing their bulbs for 4-5 months. Many onion growers are convinced for storing onion and they are encouraged to do the same. This year alone 30 farmers have adopted this for storing onion.

(Source: ICAR-Zonal Project Directorate, Zone II, Kolkata)

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