Case Studies

Transforming livelihoods of tribals through onion & garlic cultivation

Under Tribal Sub-Plan of ICAR- Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Rajgurunagar, the tribal farmers in Nandurbar region of Maharashtra witnessed a quantum jump in their productivity

Transforming livelihoods of tribals through onion & garlic cultivation

Onion and garlic are important commercial crops which can improve livelihood of farmers. They also play a crucial role in food and nutritional security of tribals. The tribal belt of Nandurbar in Maharashtra has congenial climatic conditions for production of onion and garlic at commercial level. However, cultivation of these crops was limited to the kitchen garden before the initiation of Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) in this area by ICAR- Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Rajgurunagar (ICAR-DOGR).

Under TSP, systematic effort was undertaken to improve the area and production of onion and garlic by careful application of improved technologies. Thus, focus was given in conduct of field demonstrations of improved technologies at farmers’ fields through improved seed/bulb distribution, knowledge dissemination, capacity building and entrepreneurship building.

About 550 tribal farmers were selected in the form of 55 groups under this scheme. Each group comprised 10 selected farmers with one acre of land for conduct of field demonstrations, training and input distribution. For implementation of TSP on onion and garlic, 32 tribal villages have been selected from three Talukas; Navapur, Akalkua and Dhadgoan of Nandurbar, a press note released by ICAR-DOGR says.

In total, 124 demonstrations on newly improved varieties of onion and garlic and improved production technologies were undertaken. All the selected 32 tribal villages are benefited by commercial cultivation of onion and garlic. More than 2,000 tribal farmers have been trained by organising 22 field day/ trainings. Most of the farmers from selected areas are now cultivating onion and garlic on commercial scale. Onion and garlic are giving more profit than traditionally grown crops in these areas, the press note says.

Technological Interventions

Improved production and post-harvest technologies were demonstrated in the selected tribal areas of Nandurbar. For the first time, cultivation of garlic at commercial level was initiated in the Navapur Taluka of Nandurbar. By garlic cultivation, Rs. 80,000 to Rs 100,000 per acre is earned through production of about 35 quintal bulbs per acre of Bhima Purple (Table 1).

For the first time, kharif onion production was initiated at commercial level in Navapur taluka of Nandurbar. Farmers have earned a net income of Rs. 70,000 to Rs 80,000 per acre by production of about 85 quintal bulbs of onion variety Bhima Super during kharif season and earned same net income by production of about 110 quintal bulbs of Bhima Shakti/ Bhima Kiran in rabi season, the press note claims.

Nandurbar area also have favourable climatic conditions for onion seed production. Vast availability of honey bees which are main pollinator of onion, further enhance the potential of seed production in this area. Farmers have earned Rs. 60,000 to Rs 80,000 per acre net income by production of about 200 kg quality seeds per acre of Bhima Kiran and Bhima Super. Installation of drip irrigation and fertigation in the selected farmer’s fields which enhanced water and fertiliser use efficiency in onion and garlic cultivation. Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) and Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) in onion and garlic were demonstrated. Support was given to develop storage structures to the selected farmers for storage of onion bulbs of rabi harvest.

Table 1. Performance of demonstrations and returns from onion and garlic


No. Of Demonstrations

Average marketable yield (quintal/acre)

Net Return (Rs./acre)

No. Of Farmers Benefited

Production of onion during kharif





Production of onion during rabi





Quality seed production of onion





Production of garlic






Impact of TSP

The area and production of onion in Nandurbar has been increased more than three times after initiation of TSP (Table 2). The area under onion cultivation in Nandurbar district increased from 2,232 hectare in 2012-13 to 7,469 hectare in 2015-16 whereas production of onion increased from 40,538 tonnes in 2012-13 to 127,228 tonnes in 2015-16, the press note adds.

Initially cultivation of garlic in Nandurbar was negligible whereas at present cultivation of garlic initiated at commercial level in 250 hectare. Buy back of onion seed were taken by ICAR-DOGR to insure net income from onion seed production to the selected tribal farmers. After increase in income level due to ICAR-DOGR initiatives, the tribal farmers established NESU Parisar Farmers Producer Company at Nimboni, Nandurbar and registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs with the support of ICAR-DOGR through Tribal Sub-Plan. Socio-economic status of selected farmers under TSP have been significantly improved due to the intervention of ICAR-DOGR through TSP scheme, the press note further adds.

Table 2. Data regarding area and production of onion and garlic in Nandurbar






% increased

over 2012-13









2,232 hectare

40,538 tonnes

7,469 hectare

127,228 tonnes






250 hectare

750 tonnes

Source: Maharashtra Commissionerate of Agriculture, Dec, 2016

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