Omnivent Techniek, one of the VegImpact project partners, has recently sent two onion storage systems to Myanmar. After having visited several onion traders in Myanmar in August 2018 (see Figure 1), VegImpact and Omnivent agreed with two traders in the Myingyan and Pakokku areas to set up a demonstration in their traditional facilities in 2019. Back in the Netherlands, Omnivent’s engineering team customized the storage systems, ensuring their fit in the selected pilot locations.

 

Figure 1: Visiting traders in Myanmar

 

Once arrived (December 2018), the installations will be set up at the two onion traders’ warehouses. After a testing period in January-March (with rainy season onion), the storage system will officially be opened at the end of March, at the onset of the harvest of the winter onions. The impact of the storage on onion quality, longevity, and ultimately market price, will be compared to onions stored in the traditional way (bamboo houses without climatic control, see figures 2 and 3).                                                 

 

Figure 2 & 3: Traditional method of storage of onions

 

The demonstration project is specifically targeted for the onion production regions in Myanmar to promote local stakeholders’ knowledge regarding post-harvest handling of onion and supply and demand logic. The project aims to demonstrate the benefits of long-term storage to local onion farmers and traders. Based on its long experience in multiple countries, Omnivent is aware that local storage capability, inefficient supply chain, awareness and knowledge in the chain and quality seed are key factors and the bottleneck regarding the shortage of onion supply in the market during offseason. The project will address this loophole in the onion supply chain and potentially mitigate shortage of onion supply during offseason.

The customized storage solution

Figure 4: Custom made onion storage system

Figure 4 shows the framework of the installation, tested in the factory of Omnivent in Zeewolde. The size is chosen based on the harvest capacity of a local farmer. The ‘bulk’ ventilation system is specially designed with low cost material to make it more attractive for the local entrepreneur to purchase and implement locally sourced materials as well. The ventilation system is equipped with automatically controlled hatches (ACT-40) for optimal drying of the onions. The custom-designed pallet floor provides a homogenous air distribution through the stacked bags with onions, at a constant temperature of 25°C, leading to a dry quality-product.

Evaluation: direct and remote control

The pilot project is monitored and evaluated both physically and remotely. The local Area Sales Manager of Omnivent in Myanmar, mr. Joseph Dalkhansuan, will frequently visit the storage facilities and follow the  prepared testing protocol. From the Netherlands, the senior agronomist of the Omnivent Storage Academy carries out daily online evaluation based on product temperature development and relative humidity concentration.

Integrated monthly evaluation will eventually lead to the final report, expected by the beginning of 2020.