News and knowhow for farmers

Naivasha farmer earns Sh175,000  a season from a three-quarter acre onion farm

onionharrisonnaivasha

Part of Harrisom Muriuki’s onion farm at Karai in Naivaha. He has alredy harvested 1.5 tonnes of the crop and sill expecting to harvest one tonne at the end of the season. Photo courtecy. 

Harrison Thiongo is now earning over Sh175,000 per season after adopting open field onion farming last year to diversify his sources of income besides greenhouse tomato and cucumber farming which he started four years ago.

In 2014 Thiongo started growing tomatoes and cucumbers in his two greenhouses on a two acre of land at Kayole in Naivasha and after saving for about three years he bought another three-quarter acre of land within Naivasha at Karai where he is now growing onions.

“I started agribusiness four years ago and after some savings I decided to expand this business by buying more land and trying a different crop which I chose to be onions as it can do well in both open field and in greenhouse,” said Thiongo.

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After buying and tilling the land around November last year, he bought some 100,000 seeds of Onion Star 5522 by Starke Ayres Company at about one shilling per seed translating to about Sh10,000 expenditure on the seeds.

He planted the seeds towards the end the same month then proceeded to buy and install drip kit at a total cost of Sh60,000 to cushion him against dry season which is experienced in most parts of the country from late-December to mid-March every year.

“Planting onions during dry season is beneficial as there is no much rainfall that  may cause rotting of the bulbs and the onions also mature at a time when the crop is not flooded in the market therefore we sell at a good price,” said Thiongo.

“The only challenge is lack of enough water during dry periods and this is where installed drip kit comes in handy for most of us.”

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The onion variety which mature in 155 days saw Thiongo start his harvesting at the beginning of March this year and he has so far harvested 1.5 tonnes and still remaining with over one tonne to harvest.

curing onionharrison naivasha

Harrison’s harvested onions spead in a greenhouse for curing. He use greenhouse for curing to avoid much rainfal experienced in the country at the moment. Photo courtecy.

He sell to fresh produce retailers, food grocery owners and small traders from Naivasha town who either come to the farm and buy the produce or place orders and get their deliveries for free.

“I would like to establish a steady market for my produce, that is why I create contact with my customers and I do free delivery to earn their loyalty,” he said.

He sells a kilo of onions at Sh70 this being farm-gate price. This means, from his 1.5 tonnes he has already raked about Sh105,000 and still waiting to pocket over Sh70,000 from the one tonne of onions he expect to get by the end of this harvesting season.

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If he were to transport the onions to the market, Thiongo could earn about Sh100 more per kilo of onions as the crop is retailing at Sh1300 per net of 13 kilograms in Nakuru and Naivasha towns which are nearer to his farm location. However, he has since decided to cut off the transport costs by selling most of his onions at the farm and at a wholesale price.

To avoid the effect of the heavy rains experienced in the country at the moment, he spreads his fresh harvested onions in a greenhouse for the curing process until they are ready for sale.

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