Onion is a widely consumed vegetable across the world. It is in demand throughout the year. There are three cultivation seasons for growing onions– kharif, late kharif, and rabi. Onion is a semi-perishable crop and 30-40% of it usually goes bad during storage. Therefore, it is important to properly store onions so that demand and supply can be met accordingly. If in case there is any supply volatility, it is reflected in fluctuating prices. This volatility could happen because of natural calamities, low production, crop decay, break in the supply chain, etc. Hence, it becomes pivotal to have adequate Onion Storage Facilities in India to keep a check on breaks in supply and price fluctuations.
In one of the articles, we had told you about the different varieties of onion. Today we will discuss one of the qualities of onion. Onions are like babies, they need extra care in every phase, so much so that they even need a specific kind of storage. The ideal onion storage unit should be well ventilated. Its humidity should also be kept in check. Too little or too much moisture can affect onions and they would start rotting.
Storage facilities available in India
In India, onions are mostly stored in ventilated storage structures but moderating humidity is still a challenge. While big warehouses have this facility, the farmers don’t have such facilities. Let’s discuss some of the different types of storage structures usually available to farmers:
- Naturally ventilated structures: These structures are ventilated but there is no control over temperature and humidity. The farmers construct these ventilated storage structures based on the harvest output.
- Bottom and side ventilated storage structures: These have a provision of ventilation but as the temperature can’t be moderated, it results in a 46% loss of onions during storage.
- Low-cost thatched roof bamboo storage structures: These are usually constructed with a bamboo framework, and the roof is made of sugarcane leaves. This type of storage structure is low cost and easy to construct but results in a 42% loss of onions during storage.
Apart from the above-mentioned facilities, farmers have also designed their own storage facilities. A 19-year-old farmer, Rohit from Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh created a storage facility on his own at his farm. It is a 600 sq ft structure capable of storing up to 500 quintals of onions. He built a platform and placed a wire mesh 6 inches above the ground. To keep the onions dry and cool, he placed exhaust fans. This simple facility prevented his onion crops from rotting.
Just like Rohit, another 23-year-old farmer Rajkumar Aski from Hachal village, Karnataka, decided to make his own onion storage facility. He made minor changes to the traditional storage design and increased ventilation. He constructed a platform 2 ft above ground level using wooden planks to store onions. The shed was covered with mesh and the structure was made a permanent storage facility. These are some self-designed facilities that are not yet approved by government bodies but are helping the respective farmer and nearby farmers to save their crops. While the central government has pushed in money to increase the storage facilities in India, farmers on their own are also trying to do innovations. In short, we can say where there is a will, there is a way.
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