LAHORE-Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Company (PHDEC) Wednesday conducted a webinar on the topic of “Value-added Products of Onion”. The purpose of the webinar was the intervention of PHDEC on the value addition of the onion. Target audiences of the webinar were processors, progressive growers, R&D and private companies. Growers were mainly from Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Mastung, Kalat, and Turbat, as these 6 districts of country mainly contribute in onion production. Pakistan produces around 2 million metric tons of onion annually and exports around 105 thousand metric tons which leaves room for value-added products of onion. Pakistan has a quite low number of onion recipes and there is a need for introducing more value added products for household and other industries.
Jafar Ali, Assistant Manager PHDEC, welcomed the participants and explained that PHDEC started the series of webinar on value-addition in major horticulture products of Pakistan. He added that PHDEC has been emphasizing now on product development under its mandate. He informed the participants about the mandate and upcoming activities of PHDEC. He explained the purpose of conducting webinars on “Value-added Products” for major horticultural products and possible intervention in value-addition related projects from PHDEC. He extended PHDEC full support to the stakeholders in any product and export related matters.
Munir Shaheen, Founder & Chairman, Kashtkar Dost Foundation Pakistan, explained the scope and importance of value-added products of onion. He explained suitable varieties for value-added products of onion. He stated that white onions shall be used to make onion rings while red onions for onion salads, onion sandwiches and onion pickles.
He recommended onion value-added products awareness sessions among stakeholders through exhibitions, webinars and seminars. He emphasized on establishment of small cottage industries in onion producing hubs. He stated that major hindrance in the processing industries is the availability of quality grade processing raw materials. He emphasized to follow food safety standards in order to overcome health-related problems associated with processed products.
Muhammad Arshad, CEO, Pakistan Analytical & Medical Instruments Company (PAMICO), during open discussion added that post-harvest losses of onion are around 45%. He emphasized to conduct physical trainings in onion hubs on the topic of “Post-harvest Management Techniques” to minimize post-harvest losses by providing training to farmers. Rana Zulifqar, progressive grower of onion, explained about the shelf life of onion varieties being cultivated in Pakistan. He stated that Phulkara (an old variety of onion) has longer shelf life as compared to new varieties introduced and promoted by provincial governments. He emphasized on producing of old varieties for better shelf life.
Khawar Nadeem, Manager Agri-Products PHDEC, thanked all the participants for attending the webinar and assured the audiences that PHDEC will keep organizing such kind of activities virtually and on ground for the development of horticulture industry of Pakistan. While responding to a question, he explained that product specific reports and booklets are available on PHDEC’s website, these reports includes data related to production, import & export.