[Best Guide] How To Grow Onions In Uganda - Agrolearner.com
How To Grow Onions In Uganda

[Best Guide] How To Grow Onions In Uganda

Obutungulu which is the common name for onions in Uganda, onions are one of the most demanded biennial crops. Farmers in Uganda engage in onions plantation in a small-scale format, leading to a shortage in supply compared to the demand for onions in Uganda and African continents as a whole.

To grow onions in Uganda successfully, choose disease-resistant onion varieties and practice crop rotation while implementing good agricultural practices such as proper irrigation, weed control, and integrated pest management to minimize disease and pest infestations.

In today’s guide, we will be giving you a step-by-step guide on how you can start an onions plantation in Uganda, what you need to do and how you can go about it.

How To Start Planting Onions In Uganda Step By Step Guide

To help you get started with growing onions in Uganda, here are a few pointers:

Step 1: The first step is to prepare the soil.

Many methods exist in Uganda for planting onions. Alternatively, you can plant them directly in the raised beds on the farm.

This tutorial will use the term “farm bed” instead of sacks.

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Maintain a clean appearance in the fields.

Clean up your farm before you start anything else. Remove weeds, shrubs, roots, and other undesirable plants to make the farm look its best.

Set the grass on fire with them all in it.

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Spray Herbicides on some of the Weed

Spray your cleared field with fungicides and herbicides following the fire. Systemic selective herbicides can be used to keep weeds at bay for at least three months on your farm.

Make Bed/low-ridges

Next, prepare a bed for your onions.

So that your onions can develop throughout the dry season, you need to make low-lying ridges.

Keeping the beds short and close to the ground will ensure that seeds have access to the water they need to germinate.

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Add manure or feces from chickens to the prepared bed

Onion beds need to be fertilized with manure after they’ve been prepared with soil amendments.

It’s possible to use organic fertilizer in place of conventional fertilizer if you don’t have the money for it.

Find a chicken in your neighborhood and collect its droppings at least two weeks prior to planting.

Step2: Invest in Top-Notch Onion Seeds.

Before planting onions, the land and farm must be prepared. To do so, follow these steps:.

Local farmers’ markets sell hybrid onion seeds.

Take the shavings from a furniture store or a company like Sawmail, which your neighbors nickname “sawdust.”

Having dried bird feces on hand is necessary, as well.

Read Also: How To Plant Vegetables in Dry Season in Uganda

Added a little water to the wood shavings and bird droppings to form a moist mixture.

Spread the mixture over the nursery path or seed trough after you’re finished.

Make ridges out of the mixture and lay it down horizontally on the breastfeeding tray, about two centimeters apart.

Finish by spreading your newly acquired hybrid seeds out on this tray and then covering them with sand.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to Plant Onions in Dry Season in Uganda

Do not wet lines where onions are left out in the tray in the morning and at night.’

As a result of onions’ preference for only a small amount of water, only the bottom of your line is required to be moist.

After ten days of doing this most onion seedlings are ready to be planted after 10–15 days.

Step 3: Start the planting process.

You can now begin moving your onions to the farm bed you created earlier in the day.

If you want to pick your onions while they are still green, you should plant the seedlings 1 cm deep and make sure they don’t touch each other in the bed.

Also you can use seedling trays for onions in Uganda it will cost you just shs 5,000 to buy for 50 onions.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How to Grow Pepper in Uganda

To get the seedling trays for onions in Uganda, you can approach any agro stores that sell modern farm equipment closer to you.

Each plant should have at least 2 to 3 inches of space in between them, and rows should be no more than a foot apart if you plan on harvesting them when the plants are fully mature and dry.

Monitor the temperature during and after transplantation.

Month Of Onion Planting In Uganda

Despite the fact that onions can be planted year-round in Uganda, they are most usually planted between February and April in the north, between April and July in the center, and between July and October in the south. In other words, they can be planted whenever you choose.

The Basics Of Onion Care

  • Keep the temperature in your nursery between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius to get the most out of it. Expect a temperature range of 15 to 30 degrees Celsius after transplantation.
  • Higher temperatures promote curing and bulbing.
  • It is advisable to use dry sand that does not become waterlogged over time as the ideal soil for onions.
  • In the bulbing phase of onion growth, ensure that the farm has enough water to sustain itself.
  • Your onion farm should not be swamped or inundated.
  • Fresh poultry droppings should not be added to the farm bed in order to prevent the onion bulb from growing a thick neck and an abundance of leaves.
  • Hand-weeding or insecticides can be used to keep the bed weed-free.
  • In addition to helping to improve soil fertility, mulching also keeps weeds from gaining access to light through the ground.
  • Spray your farm with fungicides to keep away common onion diseases like Fusarium and Sclerotium.
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Common Onion Diseases

  1. Purple Blotch (Alternaria porri): Purple blotch is a fungal disease that affects onion leaves, causing purple or brown circular lesions with a yellow halo. It can lead to defoliation and reduced bulb size. Proper sanitation, crop rotation, and fungicide application can help manage this disease.
  2. Downy Mildew (Peronospora destructor): Downy mildew is a common fungal disease characterized by pale green to yellow patches on onion leaves. The patches may appear oily and eventually turn brown. Good air circulation, avoiding overhead irrigation, and fungicide treatment can help control downy mildew.
  3. Botrytis Leaf Blight (Botrytis squamosa): Botrytis leaf blight is caused by a fungus and primarily affects the leaves and neck of onion plants. It leads to brown lesions and can cause premature plant death. Proper plant spacing, removal of infected plant debris, and fungicide application are essential for managing this disease.

Common Onion Pests

  1. Onion Thrips (Thrips tabaci): Onion thrips are tiny insects that feed on onion leaves, causing silver streaks and scarring. Severe infestations can result in stunted growth and reduced bulb size. Regular monitoring, insecticide application, and introducing beneficial insects like predatory mites can help control thrips.
  2. Onion Maggot (Delia antiqua): Onion maggots are the larvae of flies that infest onion bulbs and roots, causing wilting, yellowing, and rotting. Crop rotation, removing infected plants, and using insecticide-treated seedlings can aid in managing onion maggot infestations.
  3. Onion White Rot (Sclerotium cepivorum): Onion white rot is a soilborne fungal disease that affects the roots and bulbs of onions. It causes yellowing, wilting, and rotting of the affected plant parts. Crop rotation, planting resistant varieties, and improving soil drainage are crucial for preventing and managing white rot.

Prevention and Management Strategies

To effectively prevent and manage onion diseases and pests in Uganda, consider the following strategies:

  1. Crop Rotation: Practice crop rotation to break the disease and pest cycle. Avoid planting onions or related crops in the same area for consecutive seasons.
  2. Sanitation: Maintain good field hygiene by removing and destroying infected plant debris. This helps reduce the carryover of pathogens and pests to the next growing season.
  3. Seed Selection: Choose high-quality disease-free seeds or seedlings from reliable sources. Certified disease-resistant varieties are recommended for better yield and disease tolerance.
  4. Proper Irrigation: Avoid overwatering or using overhead irrigation methods that promote moisture-related diseases. Drip irrigation or furrow irrigation is preferable for onions.
  5. Good Weed Control: Keep the onion fields weed-free, as weeds can harbor pests and diseases. Regular weeding and mulching can help prevent weed competition and reduce the risk of disease and pest infestation.
  6. Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Implement IPM practices by combining various pest control methods such as biological control, cultural practices, and judicious use of pesticides. This approach minimizes environmental impact and promotes sustainable pest management.
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Are there any organic methods to control onion pests and diseases?

Yes, organic methods such as using biopesticides, beneficial insects, and cultural practices like crop rotation and companion planting can help manage onion pests and diseases in an environmentally friendly manner.

Can I use chemical pesticides to control onion pests?

Chemical pesticides should be used judiciously and as a last resort. It’s essential to follow the recommended dosage, safety precautions, and observe pre-harvest intervals to minimize pesticide residues and environmental impact.

What should I do if my onions show signs of disease or pest infestation?

Prompt action is crucial when disease or pest problems arise. Consult with local agricultural extension services or experts for accurate identification and appropriate management strategies specific to your region.

Is it necessary to buy disease-resistant onion varieties?

Disease-resistant onion varieties are beneficial as they offer increased tolerance to specific diseases. However, other preventive measures like crop rotation and good agricultural practices should also be implemented to manage diseases effectively.

Can I save onion seeds from infected plants for the next season?

It is not advisable to save seeds from infected onion plants, as this can perpetuate the spread of diseases. Always use disease-free seeds or seedlings from reputable sources.

How Much Does It Cost To Plant An Acre Of Onions In Uganda?

To plant an acre of onions in Uganda, it will cost you an average of sh8m.

Can Red Pinoy Onions Do Well In Warm Parts Of Uganda?

Yes! Red Pinoy Onions can survive in a wide temperature range and can even withstand freezing. The temperatures between 55- and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the growth of leaves, roots, and bulbs.

Temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius (68- and 77 degrees Fahrenheit) are ideal for expanding onion leaves. After bulbing has started, onions can withstand temperatures of up to about 100 degrees F with no trouble.

How Much Is A Sack Of Onions In Uganda?

A sack of onions costs about sh3,500 in Uganda.

How Many Onions Can 1 Acre Produce In Uganda?

You should harvest about 12 quintals of onion on an acre of land in Uganda.

How Long Do Onions Take To Grow In Uganda?

It takes approximately 90 to 120days for an onion to reach maturity and be ready for harvest in Uganda.

Is Onion Growing Profitable In Uganda?

Yes, onion farming is a lucrative business to venture into in Uganda today.

Types And Varieties Of Onions In Uganda

Following are the different types of onions specie in Uganda;

  • Jambar F1
  • Bombay red
  • Red passionF1
  • Red Pinoy

How To Harvest Onions In Uganda

It takes around four months for onions to mature. The weather should be dry for the final three weeks before harvest.

Onions should be harvested when the tops turn brown or yellow and fall over; at this point, the plant should have around 13 leaves.

Early in the morning on a dry, sunny day remove the onion bulbs and shake off any excess soil.

Dry the onions for at least two days in the sun to cure them. After that, move your onions to a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area where they can dry and cure entirely.

The best time to begin your nursery bed is during the dry season in your planting area. In order to be able to harvest at the end of December, go back in time by 4 and 12 months.

Your onions can be stored for longer if they are handled correctly when they are harvested.


So far, we have taken you on a tour guide on how you can start an onion farming business in Uganda, how to start, what to start with, and other information you need to get going.

If there are other areas you need clarity with, you may drop a comment in the comment section below.

Author: Adewebs

David is a seasoned farmer with over 8years experience on the field and teaching. He has about 20 acres of Palm farm, 10acres of livestock farm where he spent most of his time tending and caring for his farm. He offer profffesional services and consultancy services to clients who are interested in venturing into farming.

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