ACIAR project: Sustainable productivity improvements in allium and solanaceous vegetable crops in Indonesia and sub-tropical Australia http://aciar.gov.au/publication/fs2016-hort/2009/056
Onions are one of the most important - and profitable - crops that smallholders can grow in Java.
But farmers risk harming themselves and their environment through excessive use of agro-chemicals.
Many farmers are applying as much as five times the recommended rate of fertiliser and, in an attempt to control a poorly understood mix of pests and diseases, they are spraying their crop every couple of days, right up to harvest, with a noxious but ineffective brew of insecticides and fungicides... There has to be a better way - and researchers are determined to help the farmers find one!
|Despite the problems, onions remain a key industry and source of employment in the area - hence the high priority accorded by the Indonesian government to finding a solution. Many of those employed by the onion industry are women.|
Onions can also be propagated from 'true seed' - and, if appropriate precautions are taken, this seed can be guaranteed as free from diseases.
|Growing onions for and from seed is a complicated business. The project is providing the training needed to establish a 'clean seed system' for this vital crop.|
|Like most ACIAR projects, this one has a benefit for Australian farmers. Project Leader Steven Harper (on the right) is conducting trials at Gatton Research Station looking at specific aspects of appropriate fertiliser applications for onions.|