Balton Tanzania’s Field Day on Onion Post Harvest Handling and Storage
A lot is told about the process of planting onions with post harvest and storage of the crop usually left out. Onion Farmers from Moshi, Tanzania had a different story to tell courtesy of Balton Tanzania who carried out an intense onion training covering; Onion storage facilities, cultivation practices, chemical usage in addition to Nursery preparation, sowing & maintenance, Transplanting techniques – ridges & furrow system, Spray & fertilizer programme, Harvesting techniques and Storage facilities.
Balton experts explained to the 45 community members from Kiyomu Village, that after harvest, the proper drying of onion leaves (field curing) closes the neck of bulbs which reduce the chances of bulb infection. The onion should be dried with intact leaves for 3-4 days after harvesting while cutting the leaves, 2-3cm long neck should be kept with the bulbs. These bulbs should be kept under shade for a few weeks for proper drying of the bulbs.
“Shade curing should be done in well ventilated sheds. The onion should have a shrunken neck and dry outer scales without punctures or slits. After the onion bulb is lifted, its roots quickly dry, no leaves are produced and its respiration rate dramatically decreases. The bulb will continue to size up & improve onion bulb colour” explains, Ravi Periyasamy, Balton Tanzania’s Seeds Manager.
“In addition, the better the quality of the wrapper scales on an onion bulb, the better it will be stored. Excessive exposure to sunlight causes shedding off of the outer scales, sunburn and excessive shrinkage of the onion”, adds Ravi.
The onions are stored in heaps under ambient conditions. Various types of structures are used for the storage of onions. Most of these structures are traditional type. These structures help in reduction of storage losses.
It is important for farmers to understand that for a good harvest they will need to first invest in a good hybrid seed variety. The advantages of the hybrid onions verse the non hybrids includes; Early Maturity, Uniform Bulbs, Extended Shelf life, Better Pungency, Drought Resistances, Disease Resistance- Pink Root disease and an Improved color and shape
Balton clearly understands that all growth stages are important and vital. The company’s efforts are to continuously research and introduce modern farming techniques that will position Tanzanian farmers and Africa at large as a leading force in all areas of the agricultural industry.