"The onion house drying comes from BI's social program to realize strategic food security," Head of West Sumatra BI, Endy Dwi Tjahjono stated, on Friday.
He explained that to realize the strategic food security especially onion commodity in West Sumatra, BI has developed a cluster of onions in Solok District since September 2017 in cooperation with Pawuah Sapakek Farmer Group as a pilot.
As part of its commitment to regional economic development, it wants to contribute to the problem of post-harvest management of onion, in the form of on-going drying house for Pawuah Sapakek Farmer Group, Ikhlas Farmer Group, and Orida Elba Farmer Group.
"The five units of onion dryers are worth to Rp291 million, after the delivery of its use, it will continue to be watched on an ongoing basis," he noted.
If it is using traditional means of drying, it takes 15 to 20 days, while by using a dryer house it only spends four to five days. Besides, it is able to accommodate 14 tons of red onion, and equipped with onion peeler machine.
He added that strategic food security is needed to ensure that the supply of these commodities is fulfilled in community.
Some of strategic food commodities in West Sumatra are reflected through its contribution as an inflation contributor such as rice, red chili, onion, chicken meat and eggs, he explained.
"West Sumatra's red onion as the largest center in Sumatra has a strategic role in fulfilling the availability of onion supply in the province and other areas in need," he remarked.
Meanwhile, Deputy Regent of Solok, Yulfadri Nurdin said agriculture sector is the economic development of people who contribute greatly to the increase in income and welfare of farmers.
"The contribution of agricultural sector to in Solok District economy reaches 39.6 percent, moreover the area has vast and fertile land potential for the development of horticultural commodities, especially onion," he stated.
Red onion production in 2016 reached 59,045 tons with planting area of 5,518 hectares, Then it increased to 82,685.2 tons with planting area of 7,919 hectares in 2017.
In general, Lembah Gumanti Sub-district is the largest onion commodity area that has 5.051 hectares area with the average productivity reached 11.27 tons per hectare.
The Ministry of Agriculture targets to increase onion planting area to 10,000 hectares by 2019. Therefore, it is necessary for technology to achieve the high target.
Moreover, onion marketing does not only cover Sumatra alone, but it has reached the island of Java and Bali. (cha)