Training focuses on vegetable products for Bhutan

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The Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation (Himalica) programme has been implementing a pilot project at Barshong Geog of Tsirang district in Bhutan focused on  improving income of target households through promoting climate adaptive practices at each node of two specific value-chains; goats and vegetables. Recently, a six-days’ training-cum-exposure visit on onion and garlic production was organised by Himalica at the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) in Nashik, Maharastra from 20-25 July 2015. The training was organised as per the need expressed by District Agriculture Office (DAO), which is a local implementing agency for Himalica.

The training was organized with an aim to provide learning opportunities and familiarise the target community and responsible stakeholders about the good practices being applied for promoting onion and garlic production. There were ten participants from Barshong Geog (pilot site) with thirty percent of those participating women. The participants included eight progressive farmers and two agriculture extension officers. The visit was facilitated by Ms Lipy Adhikari from ICIMOD. 

Participants at NHRDF

Major learnings from the lectures delivered by the scientists at NHRDF were as follows:

  • Globally, onion is produced in an area of 5.47 million hectare with a productivity of 19.77 tonnes per hectare. China and India are the leading onion and garlic growing countries with a total production of 22.30 and 19.30 million tonnes in onion and 19.17 and 1.26 million tonnes in garlic respectively.
  • With three growing seasons in a year; Kharif (rainy), Late Kharif and Rabi (winter), Maharstra, India is the top state for onion production.
  • About 25-30 garlic varieties have been developed by various organisations and are mostly short-day varieties suitable for tropical or sub-tropical regions.
  • Raised nursery beds are good for onion and garlic production as it minimises flooding and water logging problems.
  • NHRDF has developed eight onion varieties, of which four are already recognised by the government of India.
  • Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) is the best technique for onion and garlic production than any other vegetable production.
Integrated Nutrient Management (INM)
  • Weed competition results in a 68% loss of onion loss and 50% is caused by the pest named Thrips.
  • Of the onion loss in storage, 25% occurs due to moisture loss. 
  • Asia’s biggest onion market is in Lasalgaon, Nashik.
Important take way Messages for Bhutan:
  • Appropriate onion and garlic planting techniques were being taught to the farmers; less time consuming and equally important for plant health. 
  • Demonstration on raised beds. Raised beds are considered good for healthy onion and garlic production which had never been practiced in Bhutan. 
  • Proper and measured onion and garlic seed spacing. All 10 participants did the hands-on training in the filed on this planting technique.
  • Drip irrigation system would be the most appropriate system for water scarce areas like Tsirang. 
  • “Agrifound Parvati” and “Agrifound Parvati 2” would be best suited in the climatic conditions of Bhutan. 
  • Tsirang has a potential to grow onion thrice per year. 
  • Bhutan can adopt long day as well as short day varieties of onion. 
Demonstration in the field