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Newly-designed stores keep onions safe from damage for long

Published : Thursday, 13 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 91

Newly-designed stores keep onions safe from damage for long

Newly-designed stores keep onions safe from damage for long

The government has built at least 230 model onion storage facilities in six districts that grow the edible bulb to enable farmers get fair price for their produce during the lean season.

The government plans to build model onion storage facilities across the country to enable farmers to preserve onion and sell it at comparatively higher price during the lean period, said Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) officials.

The government took the initiative, as around 10 lakh tonnes of onion produced locally get damaged annually due to lack of storage facilities.

Since over 25 to 30 per cent of locally produced  onion get damaged every year due to lack of storage facilities, people face acute crisis of not only shortage but also unusual price hike of the essential kitchen item.

According to the DAE, the country annually produces around 34 lakh tonnes of onion  against the demand of 25 lakh tonnes.

Despite surplus production, people face acute crisis of onion every year since 2022, for which the edible bulbs price soars to between Tk80 and Tk100 per kg, though it should not cost more than Tk30 or Tk35 per kg.

Construction of the storage facilities will also enable the government to save foreign exchange  spent on onion imports.

According to the DAE officials, at least 230 model onion storage facilities have been constructed in six onion-growing districts of the country.

As each of the model onion storage facility preserves around 200 to 450 tonnes of onion, they said, around 70,000 tonnes of onion is now  stored in these warehouses.

According to the DAE officials and farmers, as the price of onion remains low during the production season, the growers don get  desired profit by selling their produce.

Until recent times, wholesalers and  middlemen exploited absence of storage facilities to make extra profits at the cost of growers.

Now, farmers can preserve onion and make  some profits by selling it during the lean period, they said.  

Jahangir Hossain, a farmer from Rajbari Bariakndis Baharpur, told this correspondent "After the government built a model onion storage facility in our area, I preserved around 350 maunds of onion in it. This year we suffered no loss due to onion getting rotted."

He said, "In the past I lost 15 kg of onion by keeping it at home. The loss increased due to  rotting."

Amzad Matubbar, a farmer of Saltha under Faridpur, said, "The government has given us a model storage facility to preserve onion. This year, I harvested around 325 maunds of onion out of which I preserved around 210 maunds of onion in the storage house. Two other farmers  also preserved around 100 maunds, 50 maunds each in the warehouse." He said, "I had preserved onion in the storage house for three months in last year. I sold all my onion at higher price during the lean time."

According to the project officials, the design of model onion storage house was developed by the Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI). According to the design, an iron sheet and bamboo made house on iron and concrete foundation are built on around one decimal of land. Each storage house has three entresols (shelf).

 Each storage house has arrangement to allow entry of sun light and air. Strong plastic covers surround each storage house to protect stored onion from water or rain.

Each storage house has built in facility to  keep temperature and humidity under control.
In each storage house hygrometer has been installed to measure its temperature and humidity.

Each storage house built at a cost of Tk 4 lakh has15 to 20 years of longevity  and the capacity to preserve 250 to 450 tonnes of onion.

Asked, Md Helal Uddin, Project Director of  Modernised Preservation and Marketing System for Onion and Garlic Development Project, said that the project would enable Bangladesh to stop onion and garlic imports."

"A huge quantity of onion used to get damaged every year due to lack of preservation facilities. Now, onion would be preserved for a long time. As a result, the farmers will be to save their crops and get proper price during the lean period. If onion is preserved in these houses, loss due to damage would be reduced bellow 10 percent," he said.

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