Samaru Journal Of Agricultural Education
Volume No: 7|
ISSN: 0794 – 7860|
Page No: 47
| FullText PDF
Title: TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT OF TRADITIONAL ONION (ALLIUM CEPA) STORAGE STRUCTURES IN SOKOTO AND KEBBI STATES, NIGERIA
FUMEN*, G. A., AIYEJAGBARA, E. F AND YUSUF, A. T.
*DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND BIORESOURCESENGINEERING, AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND BIO-ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY, SAMARU COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, DIVISION OF AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES, AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA.
High rate of deterioration of onion in the tropical humid environment due to inadequate storage structures poses a great challenge to its availability in the market throughout the year. Nigeria ranks among the world leading onion producing countries, but due to inappropriate storage practices which leads to high storage losses, the country faces scarcity of the commodity in lean months and wide fluctuations of market price, annually. To ensure constant supply of the commodity all year round, adequate storage facilities must be put in place to extend its shelf-life. This study was carried out to assess the current status of existing traditional onion storage structures in terms of their potentials to reduce ambient temperature and relative humidity which would help extend onion storability and reduce post-harvest losses. The study was conducted during the 2011 and 2012 harvesting seasons, using Sokoto and Kebbi States as the study area. A total of eight Local Government Areas (LGA), four fromeach of the states, were selected. Thirty-two (32) major onion producing villages, four from each LGA, and seven farmers of good repute from each village, were randomly selected for the study. Using visual assessment, personal interview and a well-structured questionnaire, information was obtained on the types of traditional onion storage structures, storage capacity, and storage conditions, storage losses per structure and farmers’ preference for the structures. The results showed that the overall storage conditions of the six traditional storage structures identified, as well as their storage losses, were comparatively high. However, the thatch covered-heap structure with the storage conditions at 34.7oC; 79%RH and storage loss of 40%, was the most efficient, with the farmers preference of 60%. The structures vary in shape, elevation, construction materials, skill of development as well as location; hence their storage conditions vary greatly, with the mean storage loss estimated between 40% and 70%. The results suggest that the thatch-covered heap structure could be adapted for modification and improvement to increase its storage efficiency and popularity among onion farmers.