Agribusiness idea: Every household, hotel, restaurant, or any other food vendor uses onions on a daily basis as one of the ingredients in the preparation for most of the food items. Food manufacturers and other factories also use onions as one of the ingredients in the fabrication of some of their specified items.
That alone is enough to explain how huge the demand of onions can be, for you to believe that if you can venture into the business of growing onion even with a small piece of land you will smile all the way to the bank.
To add to that half ot the red onions in Kenya are imported from Tanzania as confirmed by Food and Agriculture Organisation(FAO)2014 report.Though Kenyan farmers have been doing their best to address the demand and close this gap,but there is still more supply to be achieved.
Production of the red bulb onion is very promising commercial invetment for the market at the moment,since local production is not enough.
Bulb onions take 3-4 months to mature and therefore short rains are great for growing since they can be harvested january or february.During this period,the supply of onions from Tanzania is low occasioning good prices in the subsquent months to follow,therefore good profits to the farmers.
Onion prices in Mombasa are going at Ksh 1,170 per 15kg bag due to heavy rains experienced in the month of april contributing to price hike.Eldoret at Ksh 1,490 per 15kg bag.
Onions do well in well aerated,fertile sandy loam soils with the ideal PH of 5.8 to 6.8.Ideal temperature is 13-35 degrees centigrade.This means onions can grow in most parts of Kenya.
For areas with extreme temperature range and patterns of rain green house with drip irrigation is essential for maximum production.
1kg of seedlings can be used for 1acre with 20 grams of DAP fertilizer applied per square meter.
The best seed variety in Kenya is Jambar F1 since it produces high yield and size of its onions is bigger.
Challenges. Too many rains or excess watering can waterlog the crop. If the rain is too much focus on growing the crop during the short rains. You can also raise the beds to ensure water flows out of the field. Drip irrigation is good to avoid excessive watering that may cause fungal infections.
Diseases.Common diseases are downy mildew,bacterial soft rot,pink or white root,botrytis and rust.They can be controlled with the use of appropriate herbicides.
Weeding need to be carried out occasionally for instance every 2-3weeks manually or by using herbicides.
Common pests that attract onions include maggots, thrips, nematodes, and the leaf miner. Use pesticides from an accredited brand to get rid of the pests.
With one acre under onions, you can harvest between 20-25 tonnes of onions. Assuming that you have harvested 20 tonnes per acre and at a market price of sh.1000 per 15kgs, you will pocket slightly over 1 million shillings in less than four-month time.
In conclusion, therefore, the growing of onions is a viable agribusiness idea to achieve your goal of becoming a millionaire or even a billionaire. Under drip irrigation coupled with less water usage, you can grow onions throughout the year not to forget the fact that onions can also be stored for a long period of time. Start now and you will enjoy ln life.