28 June 2002

Onion potential in study

EXPLORING opportunities for onion growers is the focus of The Yorkshire Agricultural Societys annual Nuffield Farming Scholarship.

Neil Pratt, who works for the Driffield-based JSR Farming Group, won an award to study ways of increasing demand for onions and adding value to the crop. Planning a study tour of Europe and USA, Mr Pratt is particularly interested in the possibility of growing onions for pharmaceutical or industrial use.

"Research in the USA has begun looking at using onions to help reduce heart disease. Early work looks promising but we need to know more," he says. "I would also like to see whether onion by-products could be used to produce agricultural pest repellents."

The scholarship is organised by the Nuffield Farming Trust, which aims to promote agriculture, horticulture, forestry and countryside management education in the UK and abroad.