Onion farming in kenya: 9 key steps to follow for success

Onion farming in kenya: 9 key steps to follow for success

Onion farming in kenya has become one of the most popular practice over the years in the country.

Onions are unique vegetables which are eaten when cooked and at the same time can be consumed raw in salads or kachumbari.

Onions have proved to do well in highland areas like mount kenya regions and some parts of the western kenya.

Growing onions in large scale is more profitable compared to farming in a small piece of land. For instance, in a hectare of land onions can produce over 45 tonnes when all factors of production are kept constant.

Common onion variety in kenya

Onions varieties are divided into two;

  1. hybrid variety .
  2. Non hybrid variety .

Note that hybrid varieties are best compared to non hybrid type. This is because hybrid are treated and improved for diseases resistant, high yields production, highly adaptability to any climatic conditions and so many more benefits.

The most common Hybrid varieties grown in Kenya are:

  • Red nice F1
  • Red passion f1
  • Red pinoy f1
  • Tropicana f1
  • Orient f1
  • Silvan f1
  • Flare f1
  • Ruby f1

What are most Common Non hybrid onion varieties in kenya?

  • Bombay red
  • Red Creole
  • Texas early grano

Onion farming in Kenya  : Ecological requirements

Onions do well in areas where altitude is between 500 metres to 2000 metres above sea level.

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They requires well distributed rainfall of 500mm to 700mm. However , irrigation is an alternative method for areas where there is uneven rainfall patterns.

When growing onions optimum temperature of about 15 to 30 degrees Celsius is required. But for maximum production, onions are best grown in cool temperatures.

It’s also recommended to grow onions in well drained and fertile soils with ph levels of between 6.0 to 7.0.

Onion farming in kenya: Land preparation

Before planting, make sure to plough the farm, 4 weeks earlier so that all weed and hanging pests can suffocate and die.

Make sure the land is harrowed to fine tuned soils which is more desirable for onion farming.

Application of compost manure should be followed to feed the crop with the necessary nutrients.

Drenching is also a requirement as last practice before transplanting. This is dine so as to kill resistant pests which would destroy onion roots thereby leading to retarded growth.

Onion Planting and Transplanting

Onions are first raised in a nursery bed and after 5 to 6 weeks transplanted in the open field.
However it’s advisable to harden your seedlings before transplanting . This is so as to make sure , onions transplants become more resistant to any climatic conditions.

Seedling hardening is the process of gradually exposing plants to harsh environmental conditions.

In the nursery beds make sure to dig holes of 2cm deep and 10cm spacing. After 3 weeks remove unnecessary seedlings to reduce nutrients competition and also to provide uniform onions growing.

Application of fertiliser

Fertiliser application should be done to supplement the crop with the necessary nutrients for excellent performance.

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Apply Dap fertiliser when transplanting and CAN fertiliser in 4 weeks after transplanting.

Management of weeds

Onion field should be kept free from any weeds. Weeds are the best breeding home for most pests and diseases, therefore a lot of work should be done to clear and dispose them.

Plucking weeds using your hands is highly advisable rather than using herbicides.

Pests control

Best practice to control pests naturally is to avoid applying too much organic matter in your farm and to practice crop rotation.

Onions diseases control

Most diseases are as result of planting poor quality seeds, planting one crop every season over a period of time and sometimes applying too much Copper pesticides.

Onions harvesting

Onions are ready for harvest after three to five months after transplanting. Following the above procedure a farmer can harvest over 70 tonnes of onions in a hectare of land.

However this depends on the type of variety, climatic conditions and other relevant factors of production.

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