Looking at the plight of onion growers in Rajasthan, entrepreneur Dharampal Garhwal has decided to set up an onion dehydration plant in the state, which will make onion flakes, powder and paste.
“I belong to a family of farmers and have seen their problems. Most of the time farmers don’t even recover the production cost of onions. There are instances when farmers have thrown way onions on the road and at times they have simply left the crop in the field,” said Garhwal, a resident of Sikar.
The 41-year-old, who is the director of Olitia Foods Pvt Ltd, said that the dehydration plant will be set up at the cost of Rs 40 crore in Sikar and a MoU has been signed with the state government during the Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Udaipur.
Onions will be washed and peeled by machines at the plant and then dehydrated onions will be turned into flakes, powder, or ground into a paste.
There is a huge demand for dehydrated onion in the market. Many products such as noodles, meat masala etc sold in the market contain dry onion powder. Dry onion flakes and paste are also used for preparing food.
Olitia Foods will buy onions from the farmers directly and then turn them into paste, flakes and powder and sell it in the market. “Onions will be bought from farmers at a rate which they will decide so that they don’t suffer losses. The dehydration plant will be operational by the end of this financial year,” said Garhwal.
“When a farmer takes his onion crop to the mandi, the commission agent knows that the farmer will sell the crop at any cost and will not take it back paying for transportation a second time. When the retail price of onions is Rs 40 per kg, farmers sell it at the mandi for Rs 2-5 per kg,” he added.
Garwal said that white onion, which has a higher moisture content and lower shelf life than the Nasik red onion, is grown in Rajasthan. White onions cannot be kept in cold storage and need to be sold soon.
In Rajasthan, onions are generally grown in Sikar Jodhpur, Sikar, Nagaur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur and Churu. More than two lakh farmers are into growing onions in these districts.
“Setting up an onion dehydration plant in Rajasthan will prove to be a boon for the onion growers in the state. Now, farmers won’t need to throw away onions on the roads, as Olitia Foods will buy them from farmers,” said agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini.
Formed in 2015, Jaipur-based Olitia Foods Pvt Ltd is into making natural food products (without any chemicals). The company sells milk and milk-based products of the indigenous breed of cows, they also make natural beverages such as sherbet by distillation of various edible items such as ajwain, jamum, tulsi, methi etc for medical purpose. They also make spices such as chole masala, sambhar masala etc and manufactures processed olive leaf tea.