State to offer 50% subsidy for setting up onion cold storage facilities

State to offer 50% subsidy for setting up onion cold storage facilities

kolkata: The state Food Processing Industries & Horticulture (FPI& H) department has decided to offer 50 per cent subsidy for setting up onion cold storage facilities to encourage its cultivation in the state. The state government has set a target of becoming self sufficient in onion production in the next three years and has taken a slew of measures in this regard.

"As we are taking up measures to augment the production of onion in the state, we need to develop cold storage facilities for preservation. As per estimates, Rs 1.80 lakh may be required for setting up a single cold storage and the government will be providing subsidy to the extent of Rs 90000," Subrata Saha, state FPI&H minister said.

The department this year has taken up large scale cultivation of onion during Kharif season (monsoon) particularly in Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum and West Midnapore. 50000 tonnes of onion has been cultivated this year. The state had procured seeds of the Agrifound Dark Red variety onion from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra for cultivation. There is non-availability of this particular seed variety in the eastern region.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants the state to be self sufficient in onion cultivation and cut down import of the cash crop as it entails a huge expenditure.

A team of experts from the state Agricultural Marketing Department will soon visit Nashik in Maharashtra to gain knowledge on the technical knowhow of preservation of onion. "They have been asked to submit a report in this regard preferably by this month," Biplab Mitra, Minister of Agricultural Marketing Department said.

As the cultivation of onion is less during the Kharif season, the price often soars up particularly during the winter months when the state has to depend mainly on imports .

The state has to import over 6 lakh metric tonnes of onion annually to cater to its annual demand of 13 lakh metric tonnes. In the year 2019-20 the state grew 6.70 lakh

metric tonnes in 37400 hectares of land. In 2011 when the Mamata Banerjee government assumed power for the first time in the state the state's onion produce catered only to 20 percent of the state's demand .

Presently, the state is too much dependent on the Sukhsagar variety that is cultivated during winter and gives its yield during summer.

If onion can be cultivated during monsoon season,

the yield will be during winter, cutting down import from states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, etc.

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