Here is a guide on how to start a profitable onion farm. Onions are widely cultivated species of the allium genus. The perennial vegetable has bluish-green leaves with bulbs at bottom of plant.
Their underground stems are surrounded by modified scaly leaves. The bulbs are compressed and outer structure becomes dry and brittle. Selectively cultivated for thousands of years perfect for culinary and non-culinary uses.
Onion farming is very lucrative and the have good commercial value. To start an onion farm you need funds, equipment, land, company registration and labor.
Uses of Onion
They are used to enhance the taste of sauces, stock and soups. Prevalent in culinary applications worldwide, they are flavonoids, canned, grilled, pickled or eaten raw. Other uses include deep frying, garnishing and battering.
The shoots and bulb are edible, emit a pungent sulphur based vapor that stings the eyes. A member of genus allium family they are closely related to shallots, chives and garlic. The bulb is popular in cuisines, enhances the taste of dishes and perfect addition to sandwiches and salads.
- Used in sauces
- Culinary dishes
- eaten raw
- add flavor
- Deep fried
Types of Onions
There are different types of onions based on size, color, taste and flavor. Common types found in an onion farm are the red onions, shallots and white onions. Others include yellow onions, green and sweet onions.
- Red onions
- White onions
- Yellow onions
- Sweet onions
Shallots are tiny purple fleshed brown skinned onions. They have a powerful flavor, thin layers with a pungent smell similar to garlic. Ideal for saucing, salads and delicious when roasted alongside chicken recipes.
Red onions are highly popular and feature a deep magenta color. The reddish color is prevalent in the flesh and skin surface. Ideal for burgers, salads, sandwich it is eaten raw, fried, roasted or added to dishes.
An immature plant with partial bulbs or none are green onions. The entire plant is consumed in omelets, soups or added as a garnish. Perfect for salads every bit of the plant is edible when processed.
The top of the pack are yellow onions ideal for different culinary applications. It has a rich pungent flavor and lovely aroma. The flesh is white surrounded by heavy brown parchment skin.
You find white onions in homemade guacamole, fresh salsa and other dishes. It has slightly sweet, mild taste with white skin.
This type contains sweet flavor and extra sugar. Larger than the yellow verity the skin is slightly opaque and ideal for roasting or caramelizing.
Pests and Diseases
The two main threats are onion maggots and tiny insects called thrips. Prevent molding soil around the plant. Use mesh netting to prevent maggot eggs at base of plant. More problems are from onion eelworms and fungi.
- Onion Maggots
Write a Business Plan
Write an onion farm business plan and carryout a feasibility study. Secure funding from commercial banks in your area. You need landed property, labor, seeds and company registration. Register the farm as a limited liability company. You need tax identification number, insurance cover.
How to Plant Onions
The first step is to find an ideal location with plenty of sunlight. Compacted soil would affect the growth of the plant so soil should be loose, nitrogen rich and well-drained. Introduce compost, manure in preparation of planting.
The best time to grow onions is early spring with outdoors temperature above 25F. Plant fresh seed an inch under the soil for best results. If they were planted indoors in flowering pots transplant to the prepared soil.
Space them 5 inches apart in long rows 18 inches apart. Make sure you introduce mulch between the rows to retain the soils moisture content. Farmers generally practice crop rotation and use nitrogen rich fertilizer.
It is possible to plant a sprouted onion to get lots of green sprouts. To plant a sprouted onion place it in a pot with soil and water. Make sure it gets lots of sunlight and soil properly drained.
Care for the Onions
Rich soil, sunlight and occasional watering would grow big onions. Use nitrogen rich fertilizer every three weeks and allow bulb emerge from oil.
The farmer should recognize the signs when they ripen. On maturity the foliage becomes yellow and fall over. At this point speed the process by bending the tops down to encourage drying and loosen the soil around the bulb.
Once the tops assume a brown color pull the onions and allow to cure for a few days on the ground. Handle with care to prevent bruising or development of rot. Then let them dry for several weeks by spreading them on a screen above the ground. Store separately from any fruits or vegetables.