Promotion of onion cultivation in Union Territory of Ladakh  

Onion (Allium cepa L.) is one of the most important commercial vegetable crop in India and it is extensively grown in Ladakh. Every farmer of Ladakh grow onion crop for their self-consumption as well as for supply to the market or Army deployed in the region. Farmers are facing problems due to lack of recommended varieties, cultural practices and onion bulb storage structures. However, farmers are cultivating onion by using locally adapted varieties like Red Creole, Liberty, Brown Spanish, Red Jumbo, Local White etc. To overcome the existing problems of the onion growers regarding improved onion varieties as well as production and protection technologies, ICAR-DOGR, Rajgurunagar, Pune have initiated and conducted field demonstrations on improved onion varieties during 2022-23 in collaboration with High Mountain Arid Agriculture Research Institute (HMAARI), SKUAST-K Leh and KVK, SKUAST-K Kargil-1. With the motivation and support of DDG (Hort. Sci.), ICAR, Dr. Anand Kumar Singh, regarding promotion of onion cultivation, ICAR-DOGR conducted Training-cum-Awareness program on “Scientific Cultivation of Onion in Leh” under Union Territory of Ladakh in collaboration with HMAARI, SKUAST-K Leh on 21.9.2022 under TSP. A total of 78 tribal farmers including 57 ladies from different parts of Leh participated in the program. Dr. Amar Jeet Gupta, Principal Scientist (Hort.) & Nodal Officer (TSP) coordinated the program.

Dr. M.S. Kanwar, Chief Scientist, HMAARI, Leh formally welcomed the participants and elaborated the theme of the training program. Dr. Vijay Mahajan, Director (Acting), ICAR-DOGR appreciated the farmers of Leh for their interest and hard work for conducting field demonstrations on improved onion varieties. He also awared to farmers regarding scientific cultivation of onion which will enhance productivity and income of farmers because, there is tremendous scope for cultivation of onion in Ladakh. Dr. D. Namgyal, Associate Director, HMAARI, Leh appreciated the efforts of ICAR-DOGR taken in technology development on onion and garlic and transfer in the country. Further, he stated that more attention is needed to develop protection techniques for control of onion maggots. Earlier there were no insect-pest infestation (onion maggots) in Ladakh but from last three years the crop is heavily infested with onion maggots and the insect is causing great economic losses in the region.

Dr. Amar Jeet Gupta emphasized on the current situation of onion cultivation as well as livelihood security of farmers through onion cultivation in Leh. He also appreciated the farmers for adoption and their active involvement in cultivation of onion in Leh and briefed about the importance and scope of TSP on livelihood development of tribal farmers. He also delivered lecture on scientific cultivation of onion in Leh. Mrs. Tashi Dolma, District Agriculture Officer, Leh briefed about scope of commercial cultivation of onion and ready to support farmers regarding registration of FPO’s to boost up commercial cultivation of onion in Leh.

We have monitored the demos conducted at the fields of different farmers including Mrs. Yangchan Dolma, Mr. Tsering Angchuk Samba and Mr. Chewang Chonzom Paldon at village Saboo, Tehsil & District Leh; and Mr. Tsering Sangdup at village Stakna, Tehsil Kharu, District Leh. Performance of all the demos on improved variety of onion in good conditions. However, onion maggots is the major problem in Leh and organically protection measures are the need of hour. Farmers expressed their satisfaction regarding fruitful training for the tribal farmers in Leh. Program ended with the vote of thanks presented by Dr. Disket Dolkar, Asstt. Prof, HMAARI, Leh.