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Onion Goes Hi-Tech: 75% of the Onion Cultivation Process Mechanised

Onion, one of the most cultivated crops in the country is set to be ‘technologically driven’ and get a mechanization push. It grows on nearly 13.5 lakh hectares in the country.

Sheetal Dhamecha

Onion, one of the most cultivated crops in the country is set to be ‘technologically driven’ and get a mechanization push. It grows on nearly 13.5 lakh hectares in the country. 

ICAR- Indian Institute of Horticulture Research, Bengaluru, has developed a range of equipment to aid in onion cultivation. Seed drills for sowing onions, diggers to harvest, de- topper to cut and separate the leaves from the bulbs, graders to sort and grade the produce are some. The commercialization of the machines shall mechanize 75% of the onion cultivation process. 

The adoption of machines shall help growers substantially cut costs. Mainly the cost incurred on seeds and labor can be brought down. Cultivation cost can be brought down by one-third claims G Senthil Kumaran, Principal Scientist at IIHR. 

The cost of the entire range of equipment works out to be Rs 8 lakh, which accounts to be one-fifth the cost of imported machines. 

The use of these machines shall be started in four districts in Karnataka by the State’s Horticulture Department. The latest edition in the range is de-topper.  A couple of large retail chains and FPOs have already been using the graders developed by IIHR to sort the produce. 

“In Karnataka, the machines are being distributed to Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in four districts under the World Bank-aided scheme,” said Senthil. Other onion producing states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Haryana have shown interest in adopting the machines. 

With this advancement, mechanization in onion cultivation will be at par with that of potato. However, due to less space in between the crops, the process of weeding can’t be mechanized. 

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