News and knowhow for farmers

Hybrid onion seed prices double on increased import costs & high demand

In one year, the price of F1 onion hybrid seeds has doubled from about Sh20,000 a kilogram to an average of Sh40,000.

According to seed retailers, this has been driven by the high cost of imports, including hybrid seeds, caused by a weakened shilling. Until its recent rally, the Kenyan shilling had lost 28 per cent of its value to the US dollar since January last year.

Most Kenyan farmers opt to grow hybrid onion varieties for their high production, disease resistance, and marketable bulb yield.

Despite these record prices, onion seeds are flying off agrovet shelves as farmers look to bank in on record farmgate prices.

Related News: Kikuyu farmer doubles onion production with goat manure

Related News: Increased seedling sellers keeping tomato prices down

“Currently, one kg of onions is as high as Sh140. At that price it doesn’t matter if I am paying 20K or 40K for a tin of seeds, I’ll be making money,” said Joshua Mutuku, an onion grower based in Meru.  

This high price have been driven by the imposition of trade barriers by the Tanzanian government in February of this year which restricted access to her agricultural produce. Heavy rains which have affected Kenya’s main sources of Tanzanian onions, Mang’ola and Singida, as well as a 23 per cent slump of the Kenyan Shilling against the Tanzanian Shilling which made importing from the country more expensive.

Related News: Farmers earn 2x from white onions, as red prices tumble

However, with the Kenyan shilling strengthening against the US dollar, the price of seeds is slated for a slow decrease heading out of the planting season.

“Most of the seeds shipped in at high prices will be purchased by farmers during the long rains. In about one month we expect seed prices to begin softening,” explained Dennis Musomi, a sales agronomist at Lachlan Kenya.

Get our news into your email inbox every week

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top