Monday, February 25, 2013

Ajwang Women Takes on Bulb Onion Production Class

Learning is a continuous process and when Ajwang Women Group in Aora Chuodho asked the Maarifa team to train them on bulb onion production, we were able to quickly source for a technical person of this field, Mr. Oketch, who is the crops officer – Kobama division.
This is the first time this group is trying out onions and since the nursery beds have already been set up, a very close monitoring by experts is going to remain necessary. Red creole is the popular standard variety in high demand because of its nice keeping quality. It produces mainly single onions, red, flat-round and with a pungent taste.
So the group is currently targeting to start with quarter an acre for learning whereby they have sowed 250g of seeds. The seedbeds were raised to 1.0M and lengthened to the groups own convenient; they were able to come up with three beds. The seedlings are expected to be on the nursery for the next 2 months for them to attain the pencil size before transplanting.

The training majored on Introduction, nursery preparation, sowing, weed control, pest and diseases, harvesting and finally marketing. What surprised most of the farmers was the idea of removing soil from the bulbs once they have fully swollen o get sun boost. The groups follow up is in progress and we will feature all the processes as we carry on. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bulb Onion Farmers in Ndhiwa Start the Year with a Pomp

Saturday 9th February 2013 was the day set up for the Got Kowiti Livelihood and Development Group to sow the group’s bulb onion in the seed beds. With the collaboration of the Kobama Division Ministry of Agriculture and ALIN the team was able to create 14 seedbeds for the 1.5 Kg Red Creole seeds.
Onion is a biennial vegetable that is grown as an annual and the whole bulb is used for flavouring in foods, soups and stews and is also picked. The bulb onions are rich in vitamin E and other Minerals. Nutritionally speaking, 100 gm of onion provides about 30mg of calcium, 0.5 mg of iron and vitamin B, 0.2 mg rib flavin, 0.3 mg nicotinamide and 10 mg of ascorbic acid.
The climatic conditions of Ndhiwa seem to favour onion production since it is has a warm climate with a general optimum temperature of 15 – 30OC. We have varieties of onions grown in Kenya like the Red Creole, Red Tropicana Hybrid, Bombay red, Yellow Granex Fi Hybrid and Texas Early Grano, white creole among others.

Got Kowiti Livelihood group opted for the Red Creole bulb onions after training on the same in mid last year and they did the species trial farm that did well and they are yet to harvest by late this month (February 2013). The trial farm to us was very important since the producers were able to weigh on the options of its production before expounding to the 2 acres target (they now have the experience). It marked us a participatory field school. The seeds were sawed according to the experts’ recommendation (spacing, seed rate and fertilizer) and we are looking forward to a better start with the effects of climate change at the back of our mind.