Indian research body suggests technology to to beat price fluctuations in onion


As onion prices are pinching the pocket of most of households in the country, dehydrated onion can prove to be the solution to beat the fluctuation in rates in the wake of shortage in supplies. Ludhiana-based Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET)- a research body in post-harvest techniques in agriculture sector, advises people to go for dehydrated onions whenever onion prices soar. CIPHET provides training to farmers and entrepreneurs on converting onion into dried ones in the form of flakes and powder.

“Dried onions or dehydrated onions can be the solution to beat the spiraling rates of this commodity as people can process it at home with minimum investment through training”, CIPHET, Senior Scientist, D M Kadam said. Under this process, fresh onions, which contain about 80-85 per cent of moisture content, are dried with the help of mechanical or electrical process. They can also be dried under sunshine, he informed. “After getting sliced onion dried, it needs to be stored in air-tight bottles or moisture-proof material to have long shelf-life”, he said adding that oxygen concentration, moisture content, temperature and exposure to light could cause deterioration of dried onions.

“The dried onion flakes and powder can be stored for more than nine months”, he asserted adding that one kg of onion yields about 200 gram of dry onion. Onion flakes can be converted into powder by using pulverizers or grinder, he said. “When prices of onion soar, the dehydrated onions can be used while making vegetables or other food items by rehydrating in water for few minutes before consumption”, he said. Kadam, however, said farmers or entrepreneurs do not come forward in a big way to set up a facility of making dry onions as the market for such item in the country is quite small.

“There are only 3-4 facilities in Maharashtra and Bihar where onions are processed to make dry onions and they only cater to export markets”, he said adding that minimum investment of Rs 2 lakh was required to set up a facility for dry onions. “Consumers want only fresh onions therefore there is very less acceptance for dry onions”, he said. Kadam said the government should lay emphasis on promoting use of dry onions promotional campaigns massive scale in order to bring awareness among people about use of dry onions in order to protect themselves from seasonal fluctuation in price of bulb crop.

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