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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 433: I International Symposium on Edible Alliaceae

ALLIUM CROP SITUATION IN ASIA

Author:   C.S. Pathak
Abstract:
Allium crops are considered very important in the Asian cuisine. Several crops such as onion, shallot, garlic, welsh-onion, chives, leeks and Chinese chives are grown all over the continent, however, onion, shallot and garlic are considered economically more important. These crops are also very important trading commodity in Asia. About a quarter (2.3 million tons) of world trade in onion is contributed by Asian countries. Presently Asia produces more than 50% (14.6 million tons) of world onion (which also includes shallot) and about 65% (2.0 million tons) of world garlic. In spite of this, productivity in onion remains very low (13.0t/ha) when compared with world average of 15.0 t/ha. In comparison to this productivity in garlic is very close to world productivity of 6.5 t/ha.

Shallot is grown in large scale in many Asian countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Yield levels of shallots are generally low (8.3 t/ha) and need attention.

The reasons for the low productivity in these crops are very many ranging from agroecological variations to short fall in the availability of suitable varieties and poor cultural practices. Several biotic factors like diseases and pests and abiotic factors such as high temperature and moisture stress (low and high) have also been identified for limiting the productivity.

Several tropical Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand are presently involved in the improvement activities in these crops, however, most of this work is carried out in isolation without much mutual cooperation. The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) which has recently added these crops to its mandate would help in accelerating the improvement activities and poor cultural practices. Several biotic factors like diseases and pests and abiotic factors such as high temperature and moisture stress (low and high) have also been identified for limiting the productivity.

Several tropical Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand are presently involved in the improvement activities in these crops, however, most of this work is carried out in isolation without much mutual cooperation. The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) which has recently added these crops by developing collaborative linkages with these countries. This may help in easy flow of material and technologies within the continent. At AVRDC, major emphasis is given on the improvement of productivity in onion, garlic and shallot crops for the tropical environments, with active cooperation from several international research institutes, regional centers and National Agricultural Research System (NARS) partners engaged in the improvement of these crops. Special attention is being paid to build a large germplasm base for these crops. Developing lines with higher levels of resistance to major prevalent diseases (viz purple blotch,Stemphylium blight and basal rot) and insect pests (thrips), besides, developing tolerance to abiotic stresses like high temperature and moisture stress (high and low) are given major emphasis viruses are the most serious problem in garlic and shallot crops. Thus virus elimination and indexing has been given priority in these crops. Poor storage quality of onion bulbs is one

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