The next big thing in Kenya's horticulture

30/Apr/2016 5:56:11 pm
The next big thing in Kenya

It is a goldmine waiting to be exploited. Yet one does not need to look too far or prospect so hard to find it. Even though the onion has played second fiddle to traditionally cultivated crops in the country, it might just be the next big thing in Kenya's horticulture. 

And in a manner of speaking, become the answer needed by the Kenyan farmer to lift himself out of poverty.
Its commercial potential is simply enormous, according to experts well versed in the art and science of onion cultivation in the country. They say that onions have a high profit margin compared to other crops traditionally grown in the country, even though the Kenyan farmer is yet to find this out.

According to Mr. Joseph Mureithi the principal at Waruhiu Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) in Githunguri, onion cultivation is capable of raking in the big bucks. The training center teaches farmers on sound agricultural techniques through field demonstrations.

Mureithi says that a net of onions weighing between 13-14 kgs fetches KSH 900 on average or KSH 70 per kg. With proper management a hectare (2.5 acres) of land can bring forth between 14-17 tonnes of the crop, translating to between KSH 980, 000 to KSH 1.2 million, which is not a bad return for the small-scale farmer.
“Cultivation of the crop is very profitable, even when the farmer is only managing to get KSH 350 for their net of onions. This is still good money,” reiterates Mureithi.

Farmers cultivating the crop can hope for even higher returns, should they be using high quality certified seeds.
Even though 17 tonnes of the onion crop produce is good money any day, the farmer can harvest up to 23 tonnes of Jambar F1 onion variety from just an acre. This means that if the crop is retailing at KSH 70/ kg, the farmer is capable of earning KSH 1.6 million and in a far shorter period, since the variety takes only three months to mature.

Compare that to what the farmer can hope to earn from cultivating cabbages. A head of cabbage will fetch KSH 20 on average, when the market price is good, says Mureithi. Given that an acre of land is able to produce up to 20, 000 heads under the right conditions, a cabbage farmer will get KSH 400, 000 at the end of the day.

Monsanto Kenya, which sells seeds of the Jambar F1 hybrid onion variety are convinced that their variety is the best ever in the country.

“We have done a lot of market intelligence which shows that our onion variety is the best in the country,” states Erastus Matete of the commercial vegetable seed section at Monsanto Kenya.

The same goes for the onion variety Red Passion F1, whose seeds are sold by Simlaw Seed Company. This variety is able to give between 18-23 tonnes from an acre, according to James Nderitu a sales and marketing manager at the company.
“The Red Passion F1 onion variety is twice the yield compared to the open pollinated varieties,” says Nderitu.

Onions have other advantages besides, what looks like fetching good profits over such crops as cabbages. They have a longer shelf life of up to three months, according to Mureithi.

On the other hand Matete adds that Jambar F1 onion variety has made it possible for farmers to plant the crop for up to three times in a year. This is in contrast to other types of crops which can only be cultivated twice in a year.

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107 Comment(s)
nderito maina

Need to subscribe to the magazine..advise

John tumbo

Very informative information and details . Would also need to know the planting guidelines, ie spacing, best months so pls send details.

john kioko

an inspirational article. may i know the cost of production per acre. thanks.

George ongonga

Please send me the details like cost of seeds, spacing and fertilizer to use. Generally the cost of doing one acre

catherine Riungu

Kioko, pls call us on 0722848970 for details on production per acre Nderitu, kindly give us your email, to subsriptions details. Catherine Riungu


Pls send the information on how to grow jambar f1.thank you for the good work

catherine Riungu

Edward, see your mail. Jambar production information has been sent. Call if you need further info. Catherine

horticultural News

The onion production guideline will be posted on this site, but you can contact 0722848970, leave your email address and it will be sent. Catherine Riungu


Kindly send me the onions planting guide and any further infornation

Edward Lusega

I would also love to know the cost of production per acre. Thanks

Abbner Ongus

This artical is very informative.Could someone please send me the details of production including the costs involved. Thanks.

Caxton waiyaki

What else cn i say ths is great news to farmers pls what cost of production for 1 acre

Caxton waiyaki

What else cn i say ths is great news to farmers pls what cost of production for 1 acre


its a great work and it really paying a onion farmer and i need more information on onion farm management and more market research on the crop.kindly send me any relevant information to my email as well as market and the trends.


Very informative and inspiring. I am thinking of venturing into farming this year(never thought i would take this path) . Thanks for the insight :) For how long do you harvest the onions after maturity? and which are the best types of seeds?

allan madonye

i am a new farmer and would like to plant onions for the first time how do i get could you planting guides and the best seed for my area of lugari your timely response will be highly appreciated thanks allan madonye


Please send me the onion production guide to

David Mutuku

Thanks for a very informative information,can rainfall sustain the growth of onions especially Makueni(Konza city area)?The type of soil in my Shamba is Black cotton and a mixture of sandy black cotton soil.Thanks.


Hi, Very informative. I would like to know the planting details and what variety is suitable to grow in Ngong. Thank you.

catherine kamande

thanks people for the advice. i would like to know which is the best type for my 4acre piece of land in gataragwa area of kieni.can i rely on piped water totally? when is the best time for to plant onions where by you can be assured of the best prices when the onion is out of season?


Very informative..would like to he the details of the best variety in Nyeri County

sylvanus ogutu odayo



This is interesting! Kindly send the programme for growing onions in to my email acc. The activities right from the Nursery establishment to post harvesting practices. I am planning to grow onions in Mwala-a place in Machakos county. Please advise me the variety to grow,the best season to commence,the various activities to undertake in various periods,pest &disease contrl,weed control, I will use drip irrigation.


be side inform A kenian farmers there are two varities BAFTAIM IMP-1 Red and BAFTAIM Yellow it available in kenya at simlaw seed co and kibo seed in Tanzania these varities abest comperative with other of yielding and stoeability for more information visit our wibesite :

john Thiong'o

iam an extension officer in isinya district (kajiado county)and i would like to know the new varieties of kales that we can grow here

Maryann wanyoike

I have five acares in Magumu need advise on what to grow profitably.this area is dependant on rainfall there is no other source of water

Inde munna

How do I get the seeds and planting guide


The article is very informative and I must congratulate you for the good work you are doing. Secondly, kindly share with me the below queries:

1. The best or suitable variety for a semi arid region of around Mweiga in Nyeri county.

2. The approximate cost of production per acreage where the land is mine.

Kind Regards, Muriithi

Joan Chepkorir, Smilaw Seeds


Onions are important horticultural crops in Kenya.

They can be grown for subsistence or commercial farming. The choice of onion variety matters a lot when it comes to commercial farming / agribusiness.

This is because a farmer has to calculate the input costs verses the output costs in order to maximize profits. Hybrid onion varieties are good for commercial / large scale farming.

This is because of their high yield returns. New hybrid varieties have been released and are recorded to produce very high yielding and quality onions.

These onions are;

1) Red Passion F1 2) Red Nice F1 RED PASSION F1 a) Deep red hybrid onion. b) Very good drying and keeping quality. c) Tolerant to Pink Rot disease. d) Produces good grade onions. e) Uniform maturity. f) Low incidences of sprouting/splitting. g) Can store for up to 6 months h) Plant spacing ; 30 x 10cm/ 30 x 5cm i) Maturity ; 120 days j) Seed rate ; 1.5kg/acre k) Climate; warm areas. l) Yield ; 15 to 25,000kg/acre RED NICE F1 Most characteristics are similar to red passion, except that; Yield; 12 to 18,000kg/acre A SUMMARY OF COST OF PRODUCTION OF RED PASSION F1 ; FOR A ¼ ACRE Item / Activity Quantity Rate / Cost Total Onion Red passion F1 100,000 seeds 4,800 4,800 Ploughing ¼ acre 700 700 Furrowing ¼ arce 500 500 1st weeding (Nursery) 250 mls. Galigan 700 700 Nursery establishment 1 man day 250 250 Nursery irrigation 10 days 50 500 Nursery Irrigation 4 times a week x 5 50 1,000 Planting 6 man days 250 1,500 Spraying 6 sprays 200 1,200 2nd Weeding 6 man day 250 1,500 Minjingu Planting 50kgs 2,150 2,150 CAN Top- dressing 50kgs 2,200 2,200 Ridomil Fungicide 1 kg 1,700 1,700 Omex Foliar 1 Litre 650 650 Agrinate Insecticide 1 kg 2,500 2,500 Citishooter Hormone 200mls 400 400 Ortiva Fungicide 200mls 1,500 1,500 Total Expenditure Kshs. 23,750 From the ¼ acre farm of Red Passion F1, one can harvest up to 4,500kg quality grade onions. And if 1kg of onions costs Kshs.50, then the output will be (4,500kg X 50) Kshs. 225,000.

jeff mwangi

an eye opener


Hi. very informative. Needed to know which variety is good for Salama/ Malili Eastern province climate. Whats the spacings and planting guide on black cotton soil. And other production cost.

Maurice Ouma

I was planning to venture into onion farming so the information has come at the right time but can you inform me of the cost of production per acre. Best regards Maurice.

Samuel Kosgei

Very informative article on onion and kudos to Joan Chepkorir of Simlaw, the breakdown was elaborate. I need information on: 1. which variety of onion is suitable for Moisbridge area in Uasingishu along river Nzoia and for Iten area in Elgeyo marakwet which is a high altitude area 2. Id like to request a breakdown of the cost of production of cabbage in 1 acre of land, preferably hybrid.

elizabeth akute

Would like detailed info on onion farming

Graig m.

Which is best onion to plant in sultan hamud area?

francis njenga

can this work in kakamega, please send me all the necessary details about the onions. Thank you


great job were can i get the seed and i want to know more about planting onions


Very informative article that has come at the right time Kindly send me the information on: 1. which variety of onion is suitable for Kajulu Mamboleo along river Kibos Please also send me a breakdown of the cost of production of Sukuma wiki in 1 acre of land, preferably hybrid.

Jackson Munga

Very informative information indeed. Kindly send me the details of Jambor F1 and Red Passion F1. I would also like to know which variety is suitable in Challa, taveta, breakdown of the cost of production on a 1acre farm. Thank you.


Jambar F1 seed, now where do i buy this seed today! it out of stock!


where can i get the Jambar F1 onion seeds

Sixtus Anyanga

thanks for the info.can onions do well in Thika?.

anna kagenya

hi, i have grown about 4 50grams of sukuma wiki and three 50 grams of spinach in my land around karen, i think its in a more than 2 acre of land, What production/output am i to expect in a weekly basis and i plan to harvest from end of this month and October and November and December-

hans solo

Hi catherine Riungu/Joan Chepkorir please let me know the best seeds to plant on a 10 acre piece of land (extensible to 20 acres) that has black cotton soil. I have a reliable water source and intend to use drip irrigation. I am willing to get into a profit sharing agreement if you provide the necessary technical assistance. contact me urgently on hansolo254 at gmail dot com to set the ball rolling.

John Kieti

Are there people who sell seedlings of Jambar F1 ready to plant or must I make a nursery. If possible, please email me the onion growing schedule and the estimated cost breakdown per acre

James Mburu

Thanks for the useful information. Can you let me know the retailers of the Jambar f1 or Red passion F1 seeds here in Kikuyu or Nairobi.

Joyce Kyalo

I would like to know whether I can grow onions in Kibwezi, its hot there but we have water from the Athi which is used to carry out irrigation. it is my first time and so the cost of production will be quite useful if its also availed. Thank you.

fredrick olango

Thanks for the useful information guys!I need information on:

1. which hybrid variety of onion is suitable for Ndhiwa area in Homa Bay County. the soil type is red loamy soil.

2. Id like to request a breakdown of the cost of production of the variety and its prospective returns per acre.

3. farm inputs that I need for the venture. thanks in advance Regards Fredrick.


Pliz send me the onion production guideline to


hello, i find this information very interesting since i have done onions on several occations. we have talked of the production can someone give me details of the availlable markets. i managed to produce one tone in a 40x80 land. am selling a kg at 80/- they are very nice and big. next round i want to buy seeds from the appointed dealer, please post to my email the list of dealers

William Olili

I need to know the suitability of soil for onion, cabbage, kales, kunde, managu large scale. I want to start with a 5 acre piece of land but can extend up to 34 Acres if funds allow. I will have to dig either a dam or drill a bore hole for a source of water. Thanks

Roselyne Timbwa

Hello kindly send me guidlines of growing on 2 acre land in kakamega and which type. thank you

Wangechi Chege

Good information, Is Kinangop a good area for the onions. kindly prescribe the best variety for such area.



Antony mucheru

How can one get the seeds to grow the onions. Where can I buy them and please send me the format and fertelizer to use when I plant them. If you don't mind where is the best place to market the products.


Please send me information and requirements on how to plant and care for Jambar F1 onions. Im in mombasa want to plant Half an acre for trial. How to space , amount i need to plant, cost and care. Thanks


Please advice if Jambar F1 onions can do well in Kantafu. What amount is needed for a 40 X 80 plot? I have installed drip irrigation. kindly email all details. thanks.

Nicholas Wambua

I own a 1.5 acre piece of land where i intend to dig a water well for purposes of irrigating onions. I also plan to buy a 10 litres water tank for additional water supply. The soil is black cotton and my farm is 12km Machakos Town on Mks Kdo road. Get me info on nursery preparation, transplanting, disease and pest control. Would rain fed irrigation be enough or do i still need to do other types of irrigation? How suitable is sprinkler irrigation?, drip irrigation? Please email me urgently i need to start preparing the farm for planting next rain season i.e starting October. Regards Nicholas Wambua


Monsato Kenya? We banned importing GMOs only to grow them ourselves? Are these 'hybrid' foods safe? Or are we going to become murderers like our brothers in the west?


can i plant onions direct to the shamba without putting them into a is red creole....can it do well in meru

martin Ndege

This is a quite an informative article. Please send me the details on Nursery preparation, transplanting age, spacing, fertilizer type and Quantity, diseases control and moisture required at each age.

martin Ndege

This is a quite an informative article. Please send me the details on Nursery preparation, transplanting age, spacing, fertilizer type and Quantity, diseases control and moisture required at each age.


i need details on the best variety and cultivation of hybrid onions to be grown under irrigation in machanga area near kamburu dam Kenya where the sandy

Frank Otieno Orinda

Am interested in venturing into horticultural farming and the info I've got is of great help


Very informative piece. Kindly recommend variety(hybrid) for upper parts of Meru, Kenya. Also include best farm practices, spacing etc to given email address. Thanks.


Kindly furnish me with the production information for the following varieties;

1) Red Passion F1

2) Red Nice F1 RED PASSION F1

3)Jambar F1 onion Thanks


I have ready available 2.5ton and half ton covered transport for horticulture, drivers available. Good terms, short term or long term contract negotiated. contact 072286301


Please send me information on how to grow jambar f1 onions. And genuine contact where i can get the seeds from.

Brian mutaki

Please send me the onion production guide to my e-mail.


Very handy infor especially when considering returning to motherland. Please tell me if.... - JambarF1 and Red Passion F1 can ideally do well in Githunguri(area, three kms from shopping centre towards Uplands) - seed /seedling availability for 6+ acres - cost of production per acre - What help is available for would be farmers who have farming interest and zeal? - Are there other links for further information? Thanks for your continuous advice. Ayub

Caroline M

Hi thank you for the good information. Kindly advise which variety is best for kwale shimba hills the soil is black sandy soil and the all the cost for 1acre thats seeds, fertilizer use spacing etc. Thanks alot


Kindly provide me the production information for the following varieties; 1) Red Passion F1 2) Red Nice F1 RED PASSION F1 3)Jambar F1 onion Thanks


Help me with the procedure of growing the onions on an acre of land with the quantity of fertilizers required and way of transplanting from the nursery and ways of preparation of the land b4 transplant.


Kindly mail me the guidelines for 1 acre Jambar F1. Is the 1.5 kg/acre mentioned the weight of seedlings to be transplanted or the weight of the seeds (sachets , tins etc)?


please send me onion planting guide and cost for 1acre


Your page is quite informative. I would like to request you to advice me on the best seeds for hot areas such as Lukenya in Machakos county. An acre can utilize what quantity of seeds in kgs?

Robert Odak

Kindly email me production guidelines of Jamber F1.


Good info but is this the Monsanto promoting the GMO? and is this type a GMO? I will be glad for an explanation


Which type of soil is condusive for jamba f1 ?where can I get it in Ugandan?

Sabunyo Wandui

May I now the cost of Jambar F1 seeds and how much one would need for planting 1 acre. Please provide me with guidelines of cultivating it from nursery bed fertilizers required at which stage. Where can i get the seeds in Uganda. Thanks Wandui


please send me the details like cost of seeds,spacing,fertilizers to use and the cost of doing an acre.

Becky Namyalo

What is the cost of Jambar F1 seeds in Kenya.AND FROM WHICH OUTLET?


Very good information.I have a 12 acre farm in Kilifi and would like to know which crops I can put in that can be profitable.I am planning to put irrigation channels all through the farm.


more info on onions


What amount of seeds is required for an acre and how much will they cost me?


Good information to all farmers but specify type of soils,climate and best months to pplant


Hi, Please clarify the no. of Kgs of fertilizer for 1.5 Acres. I have started with a small portion of my farm

Polycap Otieno Owiso

Please provide me with information on the cost benefit analysis of cultivating one acre of jamber F1.

herbert juma

send details on red creole and jambar pls, to be grown in trans nzoia


good information,am an amateur planning to venture into this business in september. kindly give me step by step detail of plant and what type will be suitable in


I would like to know if the Rongai twala area is suitable for onions. I would like to venture into onion farming. Thanks


Please, email all useful information of growing onions from scratch.


Kindly provide me the production information for the following varieties; 1) Red Passion F1 2) Red Nice F1 RED PASSION F1 3)Jambar F1 onion Im in Uganda and i want to plant 2 acres for trial. How to space , amount i need to plant, cost and care.


kindly help me your email for more info thanks

Elly Lukwago

A Ugandan farmer, upcoming. I have bought red creole seeds and will be planting in a few days (nursery) Kindly avail me with info about growing, fertilizer application, care and all that a new farmer needs to know. My plan is to go into Jambar F1 and eventually garlic with the proceeds from my red creole. Hope i made a good bet

rose kagai

hi, kindly advice me if i hire land in nairobi, tala how viable are those areas?or rather advice me about the soil or climate...what is the cost of production per acre? just advice me because am interested and i know nothing.start advising me from zero

Salome Wambui

Kindly provide me with a step to step guide on the production detail.Thankyou.


Worrried to learn that Monsanto is selling their seeds here in Kenya. This is due to the worldwide knowledge that they market GMO's which have been associated with high cancer incidences.


Kindly send me info on how to growth and production of JambarF1 and let me know if they can grow well in Mois Bridge Kitale

akiis alexis

pliz send me guidelines on how to plant, the price & where to get them


Interesting stuff, I will do this. I plan to do the farming in Kangundo. Plese Please send me the details on Nursery preparation, transplanting age, spacing, fertilizer type and Quantity, diseases control and moisture required at each stage. Also connect me with the lady from Simlaw if possible.

Ruth Njeri

Hi, i am very impressed by the information you have posted here. It is really an eye opener. Kindly tell me what type of onions would be best for black soil for the area of Ruiru. Also send me the guide to my email address Thanks.


Thank you for the information. I am very young (22yrs) and new in this business but would like to venture into it. could i please get guidline and the best seeds to use in my 1 acre plot of land. Thank you

Mwaniki Mungai

hi yu r doing good. keep it up.


Would like to venture into either of the two hybrid varieties/jambar&red creole/ production in narok north plz do send me the prodction guidelines for 0.5 acres inclusive of cost.thank you


Could I please be furnished with the Jambar F1's production details for an acre, inclusive of costs. Also your opinion on how this would fair in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County

Elijah Ajowi

Please send me the the guide of planting Jamber F1 onion and my email address is

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