Onion and garlic are important commercial crops which can improve livelihood of farmers. They also play a crucial role in food and nutritional security of tribals. The tribal belt of Nandurbar in Maharashtra has congenial climatic conditions for production of onion and garlic at commercial level. But cultivation of these crops was limited to the kitchen garden before the initiation of Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) in this area by ICAR- Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Rajgurunagar (ICAR-DOGR). Under TSP, systematic effort was undertaken to improve the area and production of onion and garlic by careful application of improved technologies. Thus, focus was given in conduct of field demonstrations of improved technologies at farmer’s fields through improved seed/bulb distribution, knowledge dissemination, capacity building and entrepreneurship building.
About 550 tribal farmers were selected in the form of 55 groups under this scheme. Each group comprised 10 selected farmers with one acre of land for conduct of field demonstrations, training and input distribution. Thirty-two tribal villages have been selected from three Talukas viz.; Navapur, Akalkua and Dhadgoan of Nandurbar for implementation of TSP on onion and garlic.
In total, 124 demonstrations on newly improved varieties of onion and garlic and improved production technologies were undertaken. All the selected 32 tribal villages are benefited by commercial cultivation of onion and garlic. More than 2000 tribal farmers have been trained by organizing 22 field day/ trainings by ICAR-DOGR. Most of the farmers from selected areas are now cultivating onion and garlic on commercial scale.
Onion and garlic are giving more profit than traditionally grown crops in these areas and even got the highest price of onion produced in Indore market.
Improved production and post-harvest technologies were demonstrated in the selected tribal areas of Nandurbar. For the first time, cultivation of garlic at commercial level was initiated in the Navapur Taluka of Nandurbar. By garlic cultivation, Rs. 0.80-1.00 lakh per acre is earned through production of about 35 q bulbs per acre of Bhima Purple (Table 1). For the first time, kharif onion production was initiated at commercial level in Navapur taluka of Nandurbar.
Farmers have earned a net income of Rs. 0.70-0.80 lakh per acre by production of about 85 q bulbs of onion variety Bhima Super during kharif season and earned same net income by production of about 110 q bulbs of Bhima Shakti/ Bhima Kiran in rabi season.
Nandurbar areas also have favorable climatic conditions for onion seed production. Vast availability of honey bees which are main pollinator of onion, further enhance the potential of seed production in this area. Farmers have earned Rs. 0.60-0.80 lakh per acre net income by production of about 200 kg quality seeds per acre of Bhima Kiran/ Bhima Super.
Installation of drip irrigation and fertigation in the selected farmer’s fields which enhanced water and fertilizer use efficiency in onion and garlic cultivation. Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) and Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) in onion and garlic were demonstrated. Support was given to develop storage structures to the selected farmers for storage of onion bulbs of rabi harvest.
Impact of TSP
The area and production of onion in Nandurbar has been increased more than three times after initiation of TSP (Table 2). The area under onion cultivation in Nandurbar district increased from 2232 ha (2012-13) to 7469 ha (2015-16) whereas production of onion increased from 40538 t (2012-13) to 127228 t (2015-16). Initially cultivation of garlic in Nandurbar was negligible whereas at present cultivation of garlic initiated at commercial level (250 ha). Buy back of onion seed were taken by ICAR-DOGR to insure net income from onion seed production to the selected tribal farmers.
After increase in income level due to ICAR-DOGR initiatives, the tribal farmers established NESU Parisar Farmers Producer Company at Nimboni, Nandurbar and registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GOI with the support of ICAR-DOGR through Tribal Sub-Plan. Socio-economic status of selected farmers under TSP have been significantly improved due to the intervention of ICAR-DOGR through TSP scheme.
(Source: ICAR- Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Rajgurunagar)