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Sucess story

Success story on onion storage

           Onion is one of the important commercial vegetable crops grown in India. It is widely grown in many parts of the country mainly Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujrat, Rajasthatn, Punjab and Haryana.  India is the second largest producer of onion next only to China. It is grown over 5.34 lakh hectares area with a harvest of about 76.37 lakh tones annually. Onion has been a crop of mass consumption and its demand remains constant year round in the market all over the country due to its usefulness as an essential ingredient in various culinary recipes and as raw in salad. Hence it is called as ‘Queen of kitchen’. It has also been an important foreign exchange earning crop for years which accounts about 80 % of total fresh vegetables export from India.

           This crop is grown mainly in Rabi season by small and marginal farmers. It is a cool season vegetable crop and is cultivated on large scale chiefly during Rabi season in almost all parts of the country. Rabi onions have greater storability and can be available for long period for meeting the demand and regular supply in the market. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ujwa, New Delhi working under the aegis Indain Council of Agriculture Research & National Horticulture Research & Development Foundation (NHRDF) is popularizing improved Panipat type low cost onion structure (developed by NHRDF) for the use of small onion & marginal farmers through training and demonstration programmes.

It is about the experience of Sh. Ram Kishore Tyagi, aged 45 years, farmer of the village Shikarpur, Najafgarh block who gained economic mileage from the improved low cost storage structure for onion and become a source of inspiration to others farmers of the area. His education is 10th standard. He is growing Rabi onion since last 12 years. Due to lack of latest knowledge on onion storage and the traditional practices adopted at his farm, he was not getting the good return in comparison to his investment. During the Kisan Gosthi organized by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ujwa in his village about the activities of this Kendra since then he was in touch with KVK scientists for the solutions of the existing problems in his farm and allied enterprises. During interaction with KVK scientists he was guided to go for low cost Panipat type onion storage structures, in which onion can be stored up to 5-6 months which can fetch higher price during lean period. After consulting the KVK scientists in the year 2005-06 he had grown Rabi onion in 2 acres of area and constructed low cost Panipat type onion storage structure under closed supervision of KVK scientist at his farm. During the period he achieved a yield of 120 qtl /acre onion and out of which he stored 60 qtl onion in constructed storage structure and another 60 qtl he sold as fresh @ Rs.375/qtl. After storage for 4-5 months he sold the onions @ Rs.1250/qtl and earned Rs.63, 500/- which was twice than he sold the onion as fresh. This was a record income in his and nearby villages. This step was the turning point for him as well as for other farmers to fetch higher price from stored onion. The year wise detail is given in table I, it is evident from the table that Sh. Ram Kishore was very much pleased with the monetary benefit from storage of onion, which convinced the fellow farmers to store the onion in low cost onion storage structure on their field as well as in the subsequent year.  





Fresh Sale Rate

Loss during storage

Sale rate after storage


2 ½

120 qtl/acre X 2½  = 300 qtl

150 qtl fresh sale X Rs.375/qtl
 = Rs. 56,250

22.5 qtl
(stored 150 qtl)

127.5 qtl X Rs. 1250/qtl
= Rs.1,59,375



100 qtl/acre X 3 = 300 qtl

50 qtl fresh sale X Rs. 437.5/qtl
 = Rs. 21,875

37.5 qtl
(stored 250 qtl)

212.5 qtl X Rs. 1200/qtl
 = Rs.2,55,000



110 qtl/acre X 4 = 440 qtl

120 qtl fresh sale XRs. 500/qtl
 = Rs. 60,000

(stored 330 qtl)

280.5 qtl X Rs. 1000/qtl
= Rs. 2,80,500

  About improved Panipat type low cost onion storage structure
            NHRDF has developed model design for two tier in Panipat and single tier in Nashik. This structure has adequate ventilation from all sides including bottom. Such should be constructed for reducing storage losses. KVK, Ujwa (NHRDF) is popularizing this structure in onion growing areas of Delhi.
            The improved low cost structure can be easily constructed by farmer, the structure is generally made of bamboo or sarkanda nets and the roof is thatched made of sirki, which is covered on top with jute cloth. The material of structure like bamboo/sirki, jute etc. are easily available in local market. The required size for storing 4 tons of onion is:

Width  4 feet
Side Height 5 feet
Height (centre) 6.5 feet
Height (from ground level) 30 cm

The low cost structure can be of different capacities having a life of 2-3 years with cost of Rs 7000 – Rs. 8000 for 4 tons capacity. The cost of structure varies with locally available material and lab our.

Features of improved Panipat type low cost onion storage structure

  1. Construction of structure on a raised platform with bottom ventilation to prevent moisture and dampness by avoiding direct contact to bulbs with the soil.
  2. Increased centre height and more slope for better air circulation and preventing humid microclimate inside god own.
  3.  Bottom ventilation provides free and faster air circulation to avoid formation of hot and humid pockets between the onion layers.
  4. Providing cubicles instead of continuous stack and sufficient space for ventilation for all sides
  5. Avoid direct sunlight or rainwater splashes falling on onion bulbs to reduce sun scald, decay fading of colour and quality deterioration
  6. Restriction on width of each stack to 60- 75 cm for cool humid weather, 75-90cm for mild and humid weather and 90-120 cm for mild and dry weather conditions.
  7. Restriction of stacking height to 100 cm for small and multiplier onion and hot weather and 120 cm for mild weather and for big onion to avoid pressure bruising.
  8. One cubic meter area of store accommodates about 750 kg onions. Accordingly construction of god own for required capacity and construction of more units instead of single big structure and in zigzag manner when constructed in more rows.



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