Onion Farming in Kenya 2018

Monday, July 13, 2015

Onion Farming in Kenya 2018

Unlike strawberry farming, onion farming in Kenya in 2018 is affordable and the returns are equally good. It is almost impossible to cook any recipe without using onions. Even the uncooked meals like vegetable salads are never complete without the characteristic taste and smell of this healthy vegetable. This is what makes onions one of the vegetables with the highest demand in the entire world.
Onions. Image source: pixabay

Onion farming in Kenya is easy and attractive because unlike other plants like maize which take more than half an year to mature and be ready, onions only take four months. This and the fact that the venture is so profitable has brought back urban dwellers who want to capitalize on the boom.

Planting Onions

Onions are planted using transplants, seeds or sets. Normally, seeds are used in nurseries and the young seedlings are then transplanted to the farm. Seeds give you an option of choosing the exact variety that you want but they also take the longest to mature. When venturing into onion farming in Kenya in 2018, be prepared to wait for about five months.  In some parts of central Kenya, farmers prepare nurseries between August and September. Transplanting from the nurseries takes place in October and the harvesting for this crop is usually in January just in time for the shortage which allows them to fetch higher profits.

You can also used the immature bulbs from the previous season. This are called sets. Planting of the sets is advantageous because they withstand diseases better and take a shorter period of time to mature. The only drawback to using sets is that unlike the seeds where you can tell the variety type and name, sets can only be identified as either white, green or red. Most farmers prefer to use the white sets for the green onions.

Tending to Onions 

Onions do not like dry climate. It makes the bulbs split. During the dry season, onions should be watered moderately. But just like strawberries, avoid overhead watering late in the evening for the water can increase the likelihood of leaf infections. Ensure that they also stay weed-free all the time.

Harvesting the onions

When the onions are ready for harvesting it is not difficult to know. The leaves lose color and they start to dry. The leaves become weaken and hang low. onions should be left to stay on the ground like this for about 10 days to fully mature. If left for longer than 2 weeks though, the tops might die off and expose the bulbs to infections. Do not harvest on a rainy day because the water makes the onions rot. Sunny days are perfect because the roots are able to dry and die.

Storage and Marketing of Onions

Onions can last for up to 6 weeks after harvesting if they are well dried and well ventilated. Brokers normally buy the onions in the farms though they take a large chunk of the profits from the farmers. If possible, it is best if the farmer can be able to transport the onions to the market of the nearest town.

Do you practice onion farming in Kenya in 2018? Do you have more tips to share with other farmers? Let us know by leaving a comment below.