The Bengal state Agricultural Marketing department is busy developing infrastructure for the preservation of onions. Onion production has increased by leaps and bounds, thanks to various measures taken by the state government. This means that preservation has assumed utmost importance to cut down import of the cash crop.
Biplab Mitra, state Agricultural Marketing Minister, said: "We have to spend a reasonable amount in subsidy for making it available to the common people in the market after importing onion from Nashik. If we can develop infrastructure for preservation, then we can cut down reasonably on import and on the subsidy too. We are taking expert opinions on what technology can be embraced for onion preservation keeping in parity with our weather conditions."
According to the minister, space for developing the infrastructure would not be a constraint, as there is ample space available in some of the Kisan Mandis of the department. The state has to import over 600.000 metric tons of onions annually to cater to its annual demand of 1.3 mln metric tons. As the cultivation of onion is less during the Kharif season, prices often soar particularly during the winter months when the state has to depend mainly on imports.
Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan are the leading states in onion production and exports onion to other states. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants that Bengal should emerge as the fourth major onion producing state and become self-sufficient in onion cultivation.