Bangladesh largely depends on locally produced winter onion. However, the country needs to import onion about 10 Lac MT annually from different countries due to storage loss, production shortage and the use of onion bulbs for onion production. Moreover, increasing storage facility is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Therefore, producing onions in off season is the viable solution. With that in mind, ACI Seed started working three years ago to find a summer onion variety best suited for our country through adaptation trials. After analyzing a number of options, ACI Seed finally selected summer onion variety ‘Biplob’ from a leading MNC. A field trial of the variety in the display plot of Mr. Foroj Uddin at Mirpur Upazilla of Kushtia has resulted in a bumper yield of the summer onion along with other locations. The yield of ‘Biplob’ is 30-32 MT compared to national average yield of 10.82 MT per hectare. The country’s present demand for onion is about 35 Lac MT per year. We can produce about 25-26 Lac MT in 2.37 Lac hectare land. To meet the current demand-supply gap, we need to produce this high yielding summer onion variety using only 35,000 hectare land. Besides, ‘Biplob’ can tolerate high temperature and heavy rainfall. Farmers can harvest these onions in 100-110 days. Moreover, it is diseases-resistant and has the same pungent flavor like the local variety. It can be cultivated from April to September. The variety, ‘Biplob’, is suitable for homestead gardens as well.
Producing summer onions will reduce the need for storage facility as well as import. To expand the variety, government can arrange seed distribution with proper training for farmers as incentive for import substitution. If we can consider onion as Cash Crop and create agro-entrepreneurs, marginal communities will achieve economic self-sufficiency shortly. In a broader sense, Bangladesh can be self-reliant for onion production through promoting summer variety like ‘Biplob’.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO