Govt`s roadmap to be self-sufficient in onion production...

Dhaka, Thursday   28 January 2021

Govt`s roadmap to be self-sufficient in onion production

 Staff Correspondent

 Published: 12:29 PM, 28 November 2020   Updated: 04:13 PM, 28 November 2020

Govt`s roadmap to be self-sufficient in onion production

Govt`s roadmap to be self-sufficient in onion production

The government has formulated a roadmap to achieve self-sufficiency in onion production. If this roadmap is implemented, the demand for onion will be met through domestic production within four years, said the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

Due to our low domestic production, we have to rely on imports to meet the demand for onions. And Bangladesh mainly depends on India for importing onions. So Bangladesh's onion market became volatile when India stopped exporting. In this context, Agriculture Minister Md. Abdur Razzaque directed the Central Research Review and Program making Workshop of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute to adopt a specific action plan to increase onion production last month.

The Department of Agricultural Extension then drafted a roadmap for achieving self-sufficiency in onion production. The first draft is for a period of three years. When it is presented, the Ministry of Agriculture sits down with the concerned and instructs the DAE to revise it. According to that instruction, DAE formulated a four-year roadmap. The roadmap was presented at a meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture on November 23.

Director General of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DG) Asadullah said, in the next four years we will be self-sufficient in onion production Insha Allah. As part of the roadmap, various strategies will be taken to bring self-sufficiency in onions. Farmers will also be given training on onion conservation. The onion storage system will be introduced in the hi-tech system.

The director general said that according to the roadmap, a plan will be taken to increase the yield of the onion by 2 lakh tonnes this time. We have set a target of additional production of 3.22 lakh tons in 2021-22, 3.50 lakh tons in 2022-23 and one lakh tons in 2023-24. If all goes well, after 4 years, onion production will be 1 million tons more than now.

According to the Field Services Wing of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Bangladesh Bank, the amount of land under onion cultivation in the country is 237,000 hectares at present. The total onion production in these lands is 25 lakh 66 thousand tons. Among the onions produced, Robi varieties is 81.56 percent, Murikata is 18.19 percent and summer onion is 0.11 per cent. The average yield per hectare is 10.82 tons.

Although more than 2.5 million tons of onions were produced, about 25 percent of them were wasted. So the actual production is 19 lakh tons. The total demand for onions is 25 lakh 96 thousand tons. Considering the post-collection loss of 25 per cent, production needs to be 34 lakh 61 thousand tons. According to that, the shortage of onion is 8 lakh 95 thousand tons. About 10 lakh tons of onions are imported every year.

According to a DAE report, Bangladesh imported 5 lakh 76 thousand 90 tons of onions in the 2015-16 financial year, 10 lakh 98 thousand 920 tons were imported in 2016-17 financial year, 10 lakh 64 thousand 340 tons in 2017-18 financial year and 10 lakh 91 thousand tons were imported in 2018-19 financial year. In the last financial year, onion import was 10 lakh 7 thousand 220 tons. Almost all the imported onions come from India. And a small amount came from China, Egypt, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

According to the roadmap, the net demand for the current financial year (2020-21) has been set at 25 lakh 96 thousand tons. The target of onion production with 25 percent loss has been set at 34 lakh 61 thousand tons. Productivity and management will increase production to 6 lakh 25 thousand tons. The demand will be met by importing 270,000 tons of onions.

Next year (2021-22) the demand has been estimated at 26 lakh 25 thousand tons and 35 lakh tons with loss. A target has been set to import 68 lakh tonnes of onions in the same financial year. Thus, there will be no need to import onions in the fourth year rather the onion will remain surplus.