Agribusiness talk ~ Onion farming.

Onions in the filed. Photo by Kimuri Mwangi

After a considerable assessment, I have concluded that onion farming is a game changer.

However, there are several factors I would refer to as the ingredients to success in this business. These include attention to detail on spacing, plant population per m², adequate irrigation and competence in pest and disease control. You must ensure strict adherence to these without shortcuts.

The onions market may be fluidly affected by glut and low supply in some months just like in any other agricultural produce.  But onions are in a class of their own because they are not as perishable as other vegetables.

To overcome market fluctuation challenges, it is advisable to have a consistent planting program. This could mean planting a specific area per week, twice a week or monthly. One may decide to plant at least an acre per month for 12 months in a year.

A bulb onion. Photo by Kimuri Mwangi

This would guarantee a monthly income and it is also possible to get constant supply contracts to hotels and supermarkets.

The main objective should be attaining the highest yield per unit area e.g. 20 to 40 tons per acre through continuous improvements to insulate yourself from price fluctuations. High yield per unit area will reduce the cost of production per kg. I hope this is clear.

Raising seedlings using trays is great for all vegetables and the main principle is to overcome transplanting shock through non-disturbance of roots.

However, due to the high population required for onion establishment per unit area, it is not practically possible to plant one onion seed per tray hole and many propagators sow about six seeds in a hole.

This defeats the principle of non-root disturbance and results to frail seedlings that do not withstand transplanting shock in the field.

In conclusion, ground sowing for onion seedlings is the best .

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