THE RESPONSE OF ´WHITE CREOLE´ ONIONS TO TROPICAL SHORT-DAY CONDITIONS OF JALGAON, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA
Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. is the pioneer and market leader in the micro-irrigation industry in India. As a forward integration, JISL diversified into food processing and established during 1997 a state-of-the-art dehydration plant with a capacity of 120 MTs. per day for processing of onion and other vegetables for 100% export. The total area under onion in India is about 0.481 million ha with 5.467 million tonnes of production (Currah, 2002). The onions grown in the country are fresh market onions with low soluble solids < 12.5% (TSS). White onions are grown on a commercial scale only in a few districts of Maharashtra and Gujarat (accounting for about 10% of the total area under onions). In these onions, thirty to forty per cent bolting occurs in a bulb crop resulting in poor quality of the dehydrated product due to woody stem in the core of the bulb. Dehydrator onions are mostly white, having high solids > 17% TSS and even up to 22-25% TSS in some hybrids, comparatively low moisture content < 83%, globe shaped, having a small stem base, average 70 mm diameter etc. These onions have longer shelf-life and are tolerant to diseases (Voss and Mayberry, 1997). When our onion dehydration plant was set-up in 1997, high solid white onion varieties suitable for dehydration and that could be grown under short-day conditions were neither cultivated nor evolved in the country. White onion varieties with low solids, developed and cultivated in India included Bombay White, Agrifound, Gujarat White etc. The main objective of the present study was to improve production and productivity of white onions suitable for dehydration with high TSS > 17% and standardize a package of agronomical practices under short-day tropical conditions using hightech inputs. The other objective was to disseminate the improved technology through farmers participatory demonstration, training and contract farming. With these objectives in view, about 43 varieties of white onion including exotic varieties suitable for short-day conditions were evaluated during the winter season 1996-97. A few cultivars/hybrids were short-listed for detailed investigations (Balasubrahmanyam et al., 1999). Amongst the introduced varieties, the results showed that White Creole was suitable, and was selected for multilocational trials both in our Research and Development farms and in farmers field. Jalgaon is situated at an altitude of 206 m above MSL at 21.03°N-latitude and 75.34°E-longitude with an average maximum temperature of 42.5°C during May and an average minimum of 11.9°C during December. The average rainfall is 650 mm and the area comes under semiarid zone. The soils are light medium black with clay loam and pH ranging from 6.9 to 7.3. The results of the investigations carried out are presented in brief in this paper.
Balasubrahmanyam, V.R., Dhake, A.V., Moitra, P. and Sane, P.V. (2005). THE RESPONSE OF ´WHITE CREOLE´ ONIONS TO TROPICAL SHORT-DAY CONDITIONS OF JALGAON, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA. Acta Hortic. 688, 283-290