For those who don’t know their onions, here’s knowhow

Lalitpur, November 9:

The Horticulture Research Division (HRD) of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) has developed a simple low-cost technology for off-season cultivation of onions.

“This technology has been introduced for the first time in Nepal two years back,” HRD head Dr Kedar Budhathoki said, adding that it need effective measures to spread it all through the nation. Dr Budhathoki received a doctorate on “Off-season onion production in Nepal” from London University six years ago.

“If this new technology could be spread to poor farmers in the nation, it would help in the goal of poverty alleviation,” Dr Budhathoki said.

According to him, the Business Development Service (BDS) Map, an NGO, is taking the newly-developed technology to Surkhet, Banke and Bardiya. “This will yield ten-fold income in comparison to the millet widely cultivated in the nation,” he said.

Dr Budhathoki also said that nNasik Red and Nasik 53 are the most popular variety of onions which yiled 1,500-2,000 kg in one ropani of land while one onion weighs 200 gm on an average.

He termed this off-season onion cultivation as “green wealth” for farmers. This onion can be cultivated from mid-July to mid-September and takes two months to ripen.

Budhathoki said the off-seasonal onion does not require water and it can be harvested in a short time, thus benefitting poor farmers.

He also said this technology could help foreign job-seeking Nepali youths. “If Nepali youths could earn here as much as they earn in foreign countries, why should they go abroad to sell their labour,” he said.

Dr Budhathoki urged the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Department of Agriculture and other private agencies to promote the developed new technology. He added that onions worth Rs 800-900 million are imported from India every year.