Onion farmers can now harvest a gross income of close to one million shillings from one acre in four months by planting Sivan F1 hybrid from Kenya Seed Company.
The seed company Western Kenya region Manager Abraham Mukhovi said the variety gives yields of up to 18 metric tonnes per acre in four months.
“The onion is red, admirable, therefore, sellable. Being sellable means that it within six months after harvesting, a farmer could have recovered their investment,” he said.
It remains dry and red while in the almost fruit-round shape for more than five months. Weight remains constant too.
Onion shortages are regular in Kenya, and prices shoot as high as Sh80 per kilo. That gives room to Tanzanian farmers to harvest from Kenya.
Currently, a Nakuru-based onion marketer, Onion Traders Panel Kenya, is buying onions at Sh55 per kilo. They are unable to meet their target of 40 tonnes per week for local supply.
They even offer transport services to the farmers to miminise costs on the side of the producer.
Selling the 18 metric tonnes, which are equivalent to 18,000 kg, at Sh55 per kilo would earn Sh990,000.
A farmer requires 1.5kg per acre at 30cm by 10cm spacing.
Kenya Seed Company sells the least package of 10g at Sh135 and one kilogramme at Sh14,910.
Onions require well drained soils, warmth and good crop husbandry to give best result.
Seeds have to germinate at a nursery bed for about a month. Transplanting seedlings is done when they are pencil-thick.
Total costs of production until harvesting average between Sh30,000 to Sh40,000 excluding land.
PHOTO: Kenya Seed Company Western region Manager Abraham Mukhovi inspects Sivan F1 onions at the company's demonstration farm at Moi Show Ground, Kakamega on April 3, 2016. He said the variety can give up to 18 tonnes per acre in four months. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.