Onions are the (third) most consumed vegetables in the country with almost all the major meals of the day, from breakfast to the last meal, having food some part of the meal prepared with onions.
Venturing into onion farming like other agribusiness ventures is not easy but is of high returns if well maintained.
Onions are a major part of the human food needs, it has many uses including used as flavors in cooking as well as in creation of some salads.
When doing onion farming you can harvest a lot of produce from a very small parcel of land if taken good care of. An acre of land produces between 6 to 10 tons of, 80-160 sacks for harvesting.
Onions do well in places with little rain or cold weather during the dry seasons and does not experience extreme heat.
Like all other crops onions do well in well-drained soil with high nutrient value. Ensure the farming ground is well prepared in a way that it is easy for the plants roots to penetrate the soil with ease and the soil have the ability to store moisture.
The planting season is mainly from the months of March to May ensure the farming is done depending on your farms regional climate.
I would advise you to start planting immediately the rainy season is over.You can start harvesting between 90-150 days after planting (3-5 months)
You can easily tell the onions are ready for harvesting when about half of the plant leaves have started slanting or drying up.
For good harvests your planting season should be that the harvesting period falls during the hot and dry seasons.
Ensure you do harvesting after watering the farm or if it rains a day before harvesting.
A well maintained farm should be produce between 7-10 tons per acre. Ensure you do the following guidelines after you have done the harvesting.This will help you in storage and marketing of the produce.
- Sort according to sizes.
- Order those with any defects
- Remove loose dry leaves
Store the onions if not being transported and if for transport, store in sacks with good air circulation.
Your produce can stay fresh for a period of 6 months if well maintained ensuring you can earn more by managing when to sell.
For areas with high heat levels, don’t store onions for a period of over 3 months as this might lead to rotting and huge losses.
Onions require 3 types of fertilization DAP,UREA and CAN.Any other organic food waste can be added to the farm.
Dap is used after transplantation after 1 or 2 weeks.
2 or 3 weeks add urea that is high in nitrogen
CAN is added after 3 weeks from urea the addition of urea, this helps in the development and maturity of the onion.
After harvesting if due to luck of transportation, onions can be left on the farm for 2 to 3 weeks covered with leaves depending on the weather conditions.
The idea is to improve the freshness of the onion and reduce the level of warmth.
Onions are harvested either by pulling of the ground or digging by use of small hoes.
If there is poor security the leaves can be chopped of and the onions dried .The drying should take two weeks depending on the environment.
Below are a few financial estimates of doing onion farming. This might change according to the location you are.
I acre produces sack of 50-150 and a maturity time frame of 120-150 days profit.
The estimated profit is an upward of 160 thousand Kenya shillings.
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