Onion Farming in Nigeria

Step to Step Guide on How to Start Onion Farming
Onion Farming in Nigeria is written with the intention of guiding you through the procedures required to start…

Onion Farming in Nigeria is written with the intention of guiding you through the procedures required to start an Onion Farming business in Nigeria.

How to Plant Onions at Home

Onion Farming in Nigeria
Onion Farming in Nigeria – Photo Source: http://oxfarm.co.ke

How to Start Onion Farming:

  1. Choose a Suitable Location for Onion farming
  2. Choose a Suitable Onion Variety for your onion farming
  3. Planting of Onions
  4. Control of pests and diseases for a successful Onion Farming
  5. Harvesting of Onions
  6. Storage of Onion

Onions are bulbs in the allium family with a distinctive flavor. Onion is a common vegetable widely consumed in the world. They are splendid for cooking, especially fresh ones from the garden.

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Onions are widely used for many recipes and added to meals to bring about tantalizing flavor.

The health benefit of onion cannot be overemphasized. Onions are extremely beneficial to the human heart. It contains high amounts of folic acid, vitamins B1, B6, fiber, calcium, chromium, and vitamin C.

Onions also help in lowering blood pressure, body cholesterol, and triglycerides. They contain antioxidants known as flavonoids, which help boost the human immune system and fight cancerous growth.

Onions grow well in loose, well-drained, with a high composition of Nitrogen soil. It also needs much sunlight for optimal growth. This is why it is mostly cultivated in Northern Nigeria.

Onions are planted early in the spring and harvested in the fall after their tops begin to die back.

Ever considered venturing into onion farming in Nigeria? It is a very good idea because onion is a vegetable whose demand is high in the market.

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How to Start Onion Farming:

1. Choose a Suitable Location for Onion farming

Purchase or lease a land preferably with, Red loam or sandy loam soil. Onions grow well in the nature of the soil, owing to its looseness and well-drained nature.

Basically, Onions are mostly grown in any soil but the soil should be loose, well-drained, and contain plenty of nitrogen as earlier stated.

It is important to determine the soil condition and measure the pH, and other soil nutrients before cultivation.  The ideal range of soil pH for growing onion is between 6.0 to 7.0.

It is also very essential to make sure that your land, does not have any shade that could prevent sunlight rays because onions need sun for optimal growth.

Also, after securing suitable land, buy equipment such as Rollers, Bearings, Belted Chain Sprockets, Onion harvesters, Hoes, etc.

2. Choose a Suitable Onion Variety for your onion farming

We have them in various sizes. Basically, onion species are categorized into 3 categories.

These categories have their favorite season and the amount of sunlight that they require to thrive well.

Therefore, you need to consider the availability of sunlight before choosing the species to plant. These categories are:

a. Short-day onions

This variety, demands 10-12 hours of sunlight. It is suitable for the winter season. Examples include Sweet Red, Granex, Red Creole, Red Burgandy, White Bermuda, Vidalia, Southern Belle, Texas Super Sweet, Texas Sweet White, etc.

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b. Intermediate-day onions

This variety grows in any season and requires 12-14 hours of sunlight. Examples include Cabernet, Candy Onion, Red candy apple, etc.

c. Long-day onions

This variety requires 14-16 hours of sunlight. It thrives well in summer. Examples include:

Alisa crag, White sweet Spanish, Copra, Walla Walla Sweet, Paterson, Yellow Sweet Spanish, etc.

3. Planting of Onions

Onions are widely cultivated either by sets, seeds, or transplant methods.

Sets: These are immature onion bulbs planted to produce a mature bulb. Sets are the simplest to plant.

They have the shortest duration for harvest and limited complications of the diseases. However, sets are more prone to bolting than seedlings or transplants.

In planting Sets, sort seedlings by size, plant bigger seedlings set together (2 inches apart), and smaller seedlings together at close spacing.

Seeds: This is all about sowing onion from seeds. The major disadvantage of this method is that seeds take a longer period to get mature (about 4 months). Sowing seeds, could either be done indoors or outdoors.

For Indoor: Drop seeds directly on the soil surface (do not cover with soil, it will germinate with the aid of light).

It takes about 2weeks for seedlings to sprout. Ensure seeds are indoors for about 6 weeks before transplanting to the main field.

For Outdoor: Sow seedlings in two rows, about 1 inch deep into the soil, and water them from time to time.

Transplants: Transplants are seedlings that are cultivated in the current maturing season of onion and sold in bulk for planting on fields. Transplants are often available on nursery farms or marketplaces.

They grow into good-quality bulbs within a short period of time (60 days or less). Owing to the fact that onions don’t like heavy rainfall, it is advisable to transplant at the beginning of winter for optimal results.

When transplanting, plant seedlings in rows about 4-6 inches apart and about 1 inch deep into the soil.

Also, introduce an organic buffer line of 30-50 cm after several rows to ensure the healthy growth of onions.

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General care/tips for your onions farming are:

a. Apply nitrogen fertilizer on soil 2-3 weeks after planting.

b. Ensure proper spacing between plants. Spacing should be about 4-5 inches in a row on the field.

c. Add mulch to onion rows to help retain soil moisture and reduce weed growth.

d. About 4 weeks earlier to Harvest, the onion neck becomes soft. Stop the application of fertilizer at this juncture to bring about healthy onions.

e. Onion roots are vulnerable to moisture. Therefore, they require constant watering to thrive well. This is why it is essential to water them from time to time. The closer they get to the time of harvest, the more water they require for optimal growth.

4. Control of pests and diseases for a successful Onion Farming

Onions are more prone to insects, weeds, and diseases than other vegetable crops.  They are commonly affected by pests and diseases such as maggots, thrips, pink roots, smut, etc.

Onion Maggots are white, legless worms that move in the queue from one bulb to another and feed on onion stems. To control maggot invasion, scatter plant onions throughout the field.

This will stop the adult flies from setting their eggs at the roots of the onions. You should also keep mulch away from your onions farm and harvest the onion as the season progresses.

Onion thrips are onion insects. They pierce into onion surface tissues and suck onion juice thereby inhibiting plant growth.

The earlier you discover this, the better. Spray bulbs with insecticides such as Beauveria bassiana or spinosad.

These insecticides will help combat the pest attack on your onion. Also, ensure you propagate a good drainage system on your farm. This will help reduce fungal activities because most onion diseases are posed by fungi.

5. Harvesting of Onions

When your onion top turns yellow, it means it is ready for harvest. Use a garden fork to pull the onion up. Loosen the soil and lay them in a cool dry place for about 48hours. Once onions are completely dry, cut the tops to 1 inch. Now they are ready to be consumed.

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6. Storage of Onion 

Store onion in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. The suitable temperature for storing onion is 40 to 50 degrees F.

When the outer skin of your onions is completely dried, put them in mesh bags to allow airflow. At intervals, check bags for spoilt onions and remove them to avoid causing damage to others.

We hope this is helpful to you!

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