The Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) Sri Lanka Centre has been assisting in promoting the multiplication of onion seed in Sri Lanka since 2015, in cooperation with the Field Crops Research and Development Institute (FCRDI) of the Department of Agriculture, and it will continue until end of 2017. The project aimed to improve productivity of onion by utilising Korean agricultural technology, and helping Sri Lanka achieve self-sufficiency in the agricultural sector.
Under the KOPIA project, the centre established three model farm villages for producing onion seeds at Mannar, Galenbindunuwewa and Hambantota areas, and provided all inputs for farmers in 2015. The centre donated rain shelters for 2ha (500m2 each) to 40 farmers, which are used to protect onion flowers from rain. This year, established four onion storages (165m2) in Galenbindunuwewa, Hambantota and Mahailluppallama. Each storage comprises 12 shelves in five levels. Using the Korean storage techniques can reduce storage losses by 1-3% compared to a typical storage method. In addition to the above mentioned facilities, farmers benefit from shared agricultural technologies transferred from Korean experts and Sri Lankan researchers of FCRDI in the field of onion production.
Another important step taken by the project was that the mother bulbs were transported to Nuwaraeliya for vernalization in October to improve flowering, which will be planted in December. KOPIA is also planning to provide rain shelters for 3ha next year to enhance the multiplication of onion seed production.