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Onion (Allium cepa) is a vegetable crop grown almost all over the world. It is grown mainly for its bulb, which is used in every home, almost daily. It is rarely used as a sole dish or in large quantities. Its main use lies in flavouring and seasoning of a wide variety of dishes. Its popularity is due to its aromatic, volatile oil, the allyl-prophl sulphide which imports a cherished flavour to food.
As a constituent of a meal, both the green leaves and bulbs can be eaten raw, cooked or fried, or in soups and salads. Onion also has an important role as a medicinal herb in many communities, and is claimed to minimise high blood pressure and other heart diseases due to its favourable action on the elasticity of blood vessels. As an item of world trade, onion ranks second in importance after tomatoes among the vegetables.
Onion is grown widely during the wet and dry seasons. However, yields are much higher during the dry season because of fewer incidents of pests and diseases. Prices of onion tend to oxalate during the dry season before harvest begins, due largely to the inability of the farmers to store the highly perishable crop.
Onion is one of the most commonly consumed vegetable crops in Nigeria and around the world. In 2012 alone, an estimate of about 240, 000 tons of green onions and 1, 350, 000 tons of dry onions were produced in Nigeria, with the country ranking sixth amongst the top 10 producers of green onions in the world, and 11th in terms of dry onions production, with China and Japan respectively on the No. 1 and 2 spots for green onions production, and China and India on the No. 1 and 2 spots when it comes to dry onions production.
Grown mostly in Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi and Kebbi States, the Aliero Community, a local council area in Kebbi State, Nigeria, can lay claim as its home in Nigeria.
The harvested onions are preserved in silos because of the absence of modern ways of preserving them. It is sad that most other Nigerian onion producing communities such as Aliero lack modern processing and preservation plants.
Onion Can Be Processed Into The Following-
- Onion Ball Packing: This is packing fresh onion balls from the farm after it has been cleaned. This is usually sold in the open market and super stores.
- Minimally Processed Onions: These are peeled and/or cut onions ready to use that retain their freshness, packed in suitable packaging material and stored at refrigerated conditions or frozen conditions mostly sold in superstores.
- Onion Paste: Onion is grounded yet retaining its freshness. Preparation of minimally processed onions and onion paste entails optimisation of proper preservatives and packaging materials to increase the shelf life of these products.
- Packaging Of Flakes Onion: Onion flakes production is by dehydration of onions’ moisture content for it to become crispy dry, then it will be packaged in a zip bag or any nylon bag of choice.
- Onion Powder Production: This is drying and grinding of dry or dehydrated onion to powered form and packaged in to nylon bag. Powered onion dissolves very easily and reconstitutes quickly compared to onion flakes. Onion powder incorporates the flavour of onion in a variety of foods. Use of suitable packaging techniques is most important to increasing the shelf life of dehydrated onion flakes and powder as these are very hygroscopic in nature.
Onion Processing Business Requirement
- BUSINESS REGISTRATION (CAC,NAFDAC,SON, ETC)
- BSUINESS LOCATION: You have to put two things into consideration, raw material and market location while considering your business location.
- RAW MATERIAL
- FINANCE (Loan, saving etc)
- POWER GENERATION
The financial requirement depends on your capacity, as small, medium or big player in any capacity you want to start, you need at least a minimum of #2,000,000 to start but with an established relation with farmers and a well-developed market, you may not need such big amount of money to start. Return on investment is sure as demand for onion is high and it is a vegetable consumed in every home both processed or not.
Next week, we will be treating onion power processing business as a topic, keep a date with us.