Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Suitable onion varieties for Kerala

Onion farming in Kerala is set for a quantum jump as varieties suited to Kerala soil have been identified.
On-farm trials conducted by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) for the past three years have led to popularisation of onion among the farmers in plains and coastal areas.
More than one lakh seedlings produced by KVK and distributed to farmers in 2014 November are now getting ready in the small holder rural homesteads and terraces in urban, peri-urban areas.
Several trials

The trials to identify suitable varieties for the plains and coastal areas were initiated under the leadership of Dr. Jalaja S. Menon, Horticulturist, KVK Thrissur three years back.
Dr.Jalaja took the bold initiative to launch onion farming in the state said that the research attempts on the crop began in 2011.
After priliminery trials to explore the feasibilty, nineteen varieties cultivated in different parts of the country were screened for adaptability.
The first trials were in experimental plots and then it was extended to farmers' fields.
“We did systematic studies to compare the crop yield of selected varieties .After field trials it was found that Agrifound Dark Red and Arka Nikethan are better performing varieties in the plains. The Onion fields in Kerala are recording a productivity of around nine tonnes per ha, which is appreciable.”
Onion farming

The two varieties have been extensively distributed and widely accepted by farmers.
“Further studies are in progress to streamline good management practices for onion to enhance its productivity and feasibility in varied agro ecologies in the district,” says Dr. Ranjan S. Karippai, Professor & Head, KVK.
Three months from November-December to March –April is the best season suited for this crop in the State.
Standardised practices for onion cultivation in kerala will be published shortly,” says Dr. Menon.
Following the success of onion cultivators, different KVKs are trying to extend the technology across the State.
(Dr. Jalaja S. Menon is Horticulturist, KVK Thrissur, mobile: 9446141724, phone: 0487-2374755.)

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