Demonstration of kharif onion cultivation in eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh: A Success Story

Initially, few interaction meetings were conducted with progressive farmers in collaboration with Sewa International, Kashi and GK Research Development Foundation, Varanasi. Onion Awareness Camp was organized on 12 December, 2017 under the chairmanship of Dr. Major Singh, Director, ICAR-DOGR to create awareness and enhance the knowledge level of farmers to adopt new technologies of onion production in Mirzapur, Varanasi, Ghazipur and other adjoining areas.
Onion is an important commercial crop which can improve livelihood of poor farmers. It also plays a crucial role in food and nutritional security of human beings. Though, the south eastern part of Uttar Pradesh especially Mirzapur has congenial climatic conditions for onion production at commercial level, the cultivation of onion was limited to only rabi season at small level, mostly for kitchen gardens. There is tremendous scope to cultivate onion during kharif at commercial level to achieve more profit than rabi season and other traditionally growing vegetables. The farmers of Mirzapur district generally cultivates local varieties of onion which yields only 10-15 t/ha. As the quality of onion bulbs of these varieties is also poor, they get less profit. Therefore, it was decided to promote onion varieties and other production technology of ICAR-DOGR in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Table 1. Trainings organized

 

Date

Topic  of training

Beneficiaries of trainings

12 December, 2017

Onion Awareness Camp

50

2 June, 2018

Kharif onion production technology

50

10 March, 2019

Kharif onion production technology

40

10 June, 2019

Raising of early kharif onion through sets technology

60

23 November, 2019

Improved cultivation of onion

60

Field Demonstrations  

Total 140 field demonstrations on onion cultivation were conducted in kharif and rabi seasons in Mirzapur district. About 50 progressive farmers (5 from each village) were selected from twelve villages including Gangpur, Bagahi, Jalalpur, Sahaspura, pratappur, Keshavpur, Dharampur, kailhat, shivajipuram, Nakahara, Shivrajpur and Govindpur of Chunar taluka, Mirzapur (UP). For the first time, kharif onion production was initiated at commercial level in Chunar taluka of Mirzapur. A total of 90 demonstrations on newly improved onion varieties and improved production technologies were carried out during kharif 2018-19 and 2019-20. Similarly, 50 demonstrations were conducted on rabi onion cultivation.  

Table 2. Field Demonstrations conducted

Activities

Onion varieties

No. of Demos

Onion seeds distributed (kg)

Beneficiaries of demonstrations

Cultivation of onion during kharif 2018-19

Bhima Super and

Bhima Dark Red

20

40

(20 kg of each variety)

             20

Cultivation of onion during rabi 2018-19

Bhima Shakti

20

40

             20

Cultivation of onion during kharif 2019-20

Bhima Super and Bhima Dark Red

50

100

(50 kg of each variety)

50

Raising early kharif onion through sets during kharif 2019-20

Bhima Dark Red

20

250

20

Cultivation of onion during rabi 2019-20

Bhima Kiran

30

60

30

During kharif 2019-20, out of 50 demonstrations on kharif onion production, 30 demonstrations were destroyed due to heavy rainfall and flood in lower belts but remaining demonstrations performed better and farmers gained more income than their expectations. Farmers have earned a net income of Rs. 0.70-0.80 lakh per acre through production of onion bulbs about 80-100 q from Bhima Super variety during kharif 2018-19 whereas during kharif 2019-20, farmers got a net income of Rs. 2.0-2.5 lakh per acre by producing about 70-80 q onion bulbs of varieties viz., Bhima Super and Bhima Dark Red. Demonstrations on raising early kharif onion through sets performed well but some of the demonstrations failed due to heavy rainfall.

Name of farmer

Onion varieties

Yield/ Acre (q)

Rate of sold onion bulbs (Rs./kg)

Benefit gain (Rs./Acre)

Mr. Santosh Kumar Singh

Village- Jalalpur Mafi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP)

Bhima Dark Red

48.57

56.7

2,55,238/-

Mr. Manoj Kumar Singh

Village- Jalalpur Mafi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP)

Bhima Dark Red

50.79

44.0

2,03,587/-

Mr. Virendra Kumar

Village- Jalalpur Mafi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP)

Bhima Dark Red

87.30

57.3

4,80,325/-

Mr. Dilip Kumar Singh

Village- Jalalpur Mafi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP)

Bhima Dark Red

93.6

36.0

3,07,270/-

Mrs. Geeta Devi

Village- Bagahi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP)

Bhima Super

59.37

58.5

3,27,111/-

Most of the farmers from selected villages are now ready to cultivate onion crop on commercial scale as they have seen the profit gained by farmers through demonstration areas. They are also ready to replace their traditional crop groundnut for kharif onion. Farmers produce groundnut at the rate 6 q per acre and get price of Rs. 32-35/- per kg. Thus, they get maximum income of Rs. 21000/- per acre. As per farmers’ opinion, kharif onion is 3-4 times more profitable than traditionally grown groundnut. The onion farmers are also enjoying unexpected income through kharif onion cultivation due to hike of onion price in the market as well as drastic decrease in onion production due to erratic rainfall causing water stagnation in the fields during current kharif season. The farmers sold their onion at Rs. 40-60 per kg and got the income up to 4.80 lakh per acre.

Mr. Virendra Kumar from Jalalpur Mafi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP) raised onion bulb crop as per ICAR-DOGR recommended technology and produced 87 q per acre marketable bulb yield. He earned net income of Rs. 4.80 lakh per acre as his onion bulbs were sold at the rate of Rs. 57 per kg in the market whereas one lady farmer Mrs. Geeta Devi from Bagahi, Chunar, Mirzapur (UP) produced 59 q per acre onion bulbs by following ICAR-DOGR recommendations and earned Rs. 3.27 lakh net income. Her onion bulbs were sold at the rate of Rs. 58 per kg during kharif 2019-20.

The demonstrations led to conclusion that the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh is suitable for kharif onion production. It requires a drive from Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to extend onion production technology in these pockets of the country to solve the issue of onion price fluctuation during the months of October to November.