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Indian onions to be irradiated with gamma rays to curb post-harvest losses

The federal government is planning to irradiate onions with Gamma rays before sending them into cold storage on a pilot basis. Irradiation prevents sprouting and thus brings down post-harvest losses

"Post- harvest losses of onion in India are significant. Onion noticeably gets rotted and starts sprouting even in cold storage. To reduce post-harvest losses to 10-12% from prevailing 25%, we will send freshly procured onion to irradiation plants and then to cold storage,' an official said.

The perishable nature of onions, combined with lower processing penetration and sub-optimal storage infrastructure causes post-harvest losses. The government is considering irradiating around 4,000 tons of rabi season onion after it kicks off procurement from April. In the 2023-24 rabi marketing season, the Centre aims to procure about 300,000 tons of onion in anticipation of a bumper crop, beating last year's record procurement of 250,000 tons.

Onion production in 2022-23 (July-June) is estimated to be 31.8 million tons compared to 31.7 MT.



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