Onion farming is widespread in Kenya, where it is cultivated almost everywhere. However, certain locations produce optimal onion yields compared to others. These areas include Makueni County, Kieni, Meru, Karatina, Naivasha, Kajiado, Emali, Oloitoktok, and Kakamega.
Onion and onion leaves are essential ingredients in many recipes. They offer many nutrients and vitamins for everyday cooking. Besides, onions are planted commercially and generate a lot of income for farmers on a large scale.
You can also opt to plant onions on a small scale to meet local demand. Depending on the climatic conditions, soil type, and onion variety, an acre of land can produce between 20 and 25 tons of onions.
To achieve optimal growth, onions require well-drained, sandy loam soil with ph ranges of 6.0–7.0. The crop thrives best at temperatures between 13° and 24°C during germination. During nursery seedling growth, however, it is recommended to maintain a temperature range of 20 to 27°C.
The onion variety in Kenya comprises two main categories: the local variety and the hybrid variety. The varieties differ in their skin color, shape, and maturity duration. The hybrid variety is more popular in Kenya because it’s resistant to pests and diseases and growable in any region.
Before transplanting your onion seedlings, apply organic manure to the soil for moisture retention. Incorporating fertilizers such as calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) can enhance the crop’s growth during the third and sixth weeks after transplantation.
Irrigation of onion crops is vital to enable optimal growth, especially in regions with minimal rainfall. Proper irrigation periods and schedules should be observed to avoid waterlogging and onion spoilage.
Harvesting onions requires adequate caution to avoid early spoilage. It’s best to harvest the crop when 50% of it is weak and dry. After harvesting, dry onions in a well-ventilated area and store them under moisture-free conditions.
Proper crop rotation after harvesting the onions can preserve the soil for the next planting season while also assisting in pest control and disease management.
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