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Field day on “Arka Onion detopper” at Bachikoppalu village, Nagamangala (Tk.), Mandya (Dt.), Karnataka on 02.01.2021

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A field day was organized at Bachikoppalu village (About 150 km from Bengaluru), Nagamangala (Tk.), Mandya (Dt.), Karnataka on 02.01.2021. Nagamangala is a multiplier onion growing cluster and the onions grown in this region are sent to Kerala as it is preferred owing to its flavour and pungency. Multiplier onion is planted in the month of January through bulb planting method and harvested during March/April. The harvested onions along with leaves are stored in specially designed storage structure suitable for this type of onion and stored for a period of six- eight months. After the removal of leaves (detopping),  the stored onions are supplied in a staggered manner upto November month to Mysore market (onion traders) for further supply to Kerala. After this period the onions starts sprouting and not suitable for culinary purpose. Particularly in months of September and October, all the stored onions need to be supplied as well there is a heavy demand from the market. In conventional method of detopping, individual onions are handled by farm women and the leaves are snipped by fingertips. During the peak period, the farmers face problem of labour to meet the demand of the market. Also the price of onion is high during this period, hence supplying onions during this period will fetch premium price and good returns to the farmers.

Mr. Lohithkumar, a progressive farmer of Bachikoppalu village of Nagamangala (Tk.) witnessed the performance of the Arka Onion detopper installed  by his fellow villager Mr. Lingaraju, discussed with him and was convinced about the technology. He approached Dr. A. Carolin rathinakumari, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru in the month of August 2020, discussed about the technoloy and installed a machine at his place by M/s Concorde Engineering Works, Bengaluru who is a ICAR-IIHR authorised manufacturer. He used it for his own produce and operated on custom hiring basis during September – November 2020. Thus, two entrepreneurs belonging to Nagmangala, procured and installed Arka Onion detopper in their region and set off on custom hiring basis during 2019 and 2020 onion seasons. Both the entrepreneurs succeeded in their entrepreneurship.

 The field day was conducted in the above mentioned village to create awareness among the onion growing farmers of this region and to get the feed back from the stakeholders who used Arka onion detopper on custom hiring basis. The programme began with the welcome of the guests by Mr. Lohithkumar, progressive farmer and entreprenuer of Bachikoppalu village.

Dr. A. Carolin Rathinakumari, Princial Scientist briefed about the development of technology and  how the technology has been adopted by the entreprunerus. She mentioned that the detopping tool design which is the critical component of the machine is suitable for all types and sizes of onions (common and multiplier onion) and handles large volumes of onion which is very much important to meet the production level of onion grown in India.

Then, Mr. Lohithkumar, Entrepreneur of Arka onion detopper eloborated on how he learnt about the technology and adapted it. He mentioned about the drugerdy, cost and time involved in the present practice of manual detopping. He felt that adapting this technology will be highly useful to the onion growing farmers by elimating durgerdy, reduction in the cost of operation and timely operation. The cost of operation is reduced an extent of 50%. The timely supply during peak period is also possible  and fetches higher returns to the farmers.  

The following are the feedback from stakeholders:

    • Cost involved by machine is Rs. 2000/t against Rs. 4,000/t by manual method which helps a to save Rs. 2,000/t.
    • Though the performance of the machine is good in terms of higher capacity, very small onion gets damaged .  This concern was explained by the scientists to convince the user.
    • While looking in to the drugery and very less capacity involved in the present manual method of detopping, this mahcine is indeed the need of the hour and complemented ICAR-IIHR for coming up with a suitable technology for onion growing farmers.


Later, Dr. G. Senthil Kumaran, Principal Scientist briefed about other machinery and tools developed at ICAR-IIHR for onion cultivation and information about onion transplanter and potato digger. Dr. B.R. Raghu, briefed about the ICAR-IIHR mulitiplier onion variety. He also clarified the farmers quieries on differernt methods of onion propogation viz., direct sowing, bulb planting and transplanting. Dr. C.K. Narayana, spoke about the ICAR-IIHR technologies. He also comprehended the farmers feedback on Arka Onion detopping machine.

Dr M.R. Dinesh, Director, ICAR-IIHR, Hesaraghatta who was the chief guest of the programme appreciated Mr. Lohithkumar, the progressive farmer cum entrepreneur for adopting the technology. He motivated the farmers to adopt seed village concept and other varieties and technologies  of ICAR-IIHR. He also invited farmers to visit NHF-2021 which is scheduled during 8-12 February, 2021 to learn about the other technologies developed by ICAR-IIHR and adopt the suitable technologies to their region.

The programme concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. G. Senthil Kumaran, Principal Scientist, Division of Post Harvest Technology and Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Aghora, T. S., Nodal Officer, PME Cell, Dr. Dr. Reju M Kurian, Head I/c,  Division of Fruit Crops, Dr. K. S. Shiva Shankara, I/c Head, Div. of Basic Sciences, Dr. Narayana, C. K., Head I/c,  Division of Post Harvest Technology and Agricultural Engineering and CEO, BESST- HORT, Dr. Raghupathi, H. B., I/c Head, Div. of Natural Resources, Dr. B. Narayanswamy, Nodal Officer, Press and Media, Dr. Prasanna, H. C, Nodal Officer, ITMU,  Dr. Rajasekharan, P. E., Princpal Scientist, Dr. D. Sreenivasa Murthy, Principal Scientist, Dr. R. B. Tiwari, Principal Scientist, Dr. S. Sriram, Principal Scientist and Dr. S. Bhuvaneswari, Principal Scientist participated in this programme. About 75 farmers attended the field day. The field day was coordinated by Dr. A. Carolin Rathinakumari, Principal Scientist, Dr. G. Senthil Kumaran, Principal Scientist and Dr. C.K. Narayana, Head I/c, Division of Post Harvest Technology and Agricultural Engineering,  ICAR-IIHR. The programme was conducted by Dr. B. Narayanswamy, Principal Scientist, Division of Social Sciences, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru and coordinated the media coverage.