The Indian federal state of West Bengal has been able to ramp up its annual production to 700,000 tons per annum from 400,000 tons, a few years back.
West Bengal has drawn up plans to set up a 50,000-ton humidity-controlled cold storage facility for onions in Murshidabad district, a senior official said. The cold storage is likely to be operational from 2021, he stated. “It will be the first specialised cold storage for onions in the country of such a scale. The facility will have an optimum capacity of 50,000 tons,” West Bengal Agri Advisor to the chief minister, Pradip Kumar Mazumdar, said. “This facility will help avert a sudden spike in prices. Unlike potatoes, onions require humidity control at 55 per cent for longer preservation,” he said.
The project will be executed by a private sector company. “The land is ready, technology is from Italy and financial closure will be achieved shortly to facilitate actual construction,” Mazumdar said. So far, only small-sized cold storages are in operation in major onion-producing belts in the country.
The ICAR-Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research had recently said in a study that the traditional method of storing onions causes wastage as high as 46 per cent. Wastage reduced to just 7 per cent when the bulbs were kept under a temperature of 27 degrees Celsius and relative humidity level of 60-65 per cent, it said.