[Beginners Guide] How To Grow Onions In Zambia

Starting an onion farming business in Zambia is one of the most lucrative ventures you can start up in Zambia. There are large consumers of onions all around the globe, usually, the consumption to supply level of onions are usually not met.

This is because the consumption rate and onion usage are more than the rate at which it is being produced.

So today, to start onion farming in Zambia, you will need a piece of farmland that has been cleared, start planting during seasons with low rainfall and during the dry season, nurse the seed, add organic manure to the bed and that is all you need to start planting onions.

We will be going into details analysis shortly, get ready as we take you on a step by step guide on how to start growing onions in Zambia and all you need to know

How To Grow Onions In Zambia Step By Step Guide

Cross section of onions farm
Cross section of onions farm

Following is the step by step guide to starting onion farming in Zambia;

Step 1: Till the ground and prepare it for planting

In Zambia, you can grow onions in sacks or directly in the farm’s beds.

Clean up the farmland

The initial step is to clear the land for your farm. On the farm, remove the weeds, shrubs, roots, and other undesirable plants.

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Parked the grasses and gathered in an area to light it on fire.

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Using Herbicides for Spraying

After clearing your farmland and burning the bushes, the next step is to apply fungicides and herbicides. You can also use systemic selective herbicides to control weeds for at least three months in the farm area.

Make A Bed/low-ribbing

The next step is to prepare a growing medium for your onions.

To create a bed for your onions, you must create low, mound-like ridges, particularly during the dry season.

Ensure that the beds are short and close to the ground so that the seed can receive the minimal amount of water required for growth.

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Including Manure or poultry droppings

After you have completed the bed, the following step in soil preparation is to apply manure to your beds so that your onions will grow quickly and well.

You can add fertilizer in the suitable ratio, and if you don’t have enough money for fertilizer, you can use organic fertilizer.

Locate local poultry, collect its droppings, and apply them to your farm’s beds at least two weeks prior to planting.

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Step 2: Start Nursing your onion seedling

Harvested onions farm in Africa
Harvested onions farm in Africa

After you’re done preparing the soil and farm, it’s time to grow onion seedling for transplanting. To do this, do the following:

Find a farm store near you and buy hybrid onion seeds.

Then, go to a nearby furniture shop or Sawmail and collect the wood shavings, which people in your area call “sawdust.”

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You also need to get some dried bird droppings.

You mixed the wood shavings you got with the dry bird droppings you got and added a little water to make it moist.

Then, put this mixture on the nursery path or the trough you have to care for the seed.

Make ridges with this mixture by putting it in horizontal lines about 2 cm apart.

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Then, put the hybrid seeds you just bought from the farm store in a random pattern on this tray and cover with a little bit of sand.

Start watering the tray in the morning and at night, but don’t water the lines where the onions are spread.

This is because onions don’t like a lot of water; you only need to wet the bottom of your line.

This should be done for 10 days. Most onion seedlings are alive and ready to be planted after no more than 10–15 days.

Step 3: Begin Transplantation

The next step is to begin shifting your onions to the farm bed you’ve prepared.

Plant the seedlings 1cm deep with no space between them on the bed if you want to harvest your onions when they are green.

If you want to harvest it while it’s dry, plant it 1cm deep and space it at least 2-3inches apart and 10-12inches between rows.

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Take temperature readings throughout nursing and after transplanting.

How To Nurse Onion Basic Guides

For maximum performance in the nursery, nurse at temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. After transplanting, the temperature should be between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius.

This is because higher temperatures promote curing and bulbing.

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Sand that does not retain water for an extended period of time is ideal for planting onions.

Ensure that enough water supplies are supplied to the farm during the bulbing stage of Onions.

In your onion farm, avoid excessive or clogged water.

To avoid onions bulb growing thick necks and excessive leaf, do not put fresh poultry droppings on the farm soil.

Make careful to weed the bed on a regular basis or apply pesticides if necessary.

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To prevent weeds, you can utilize mulching to increase soil fertility while blocking underground weeds from getting sunlight.

Spray your farm with fungicides to keep common onion diseases like Fusarium and Sclerotium at bay.

Milthane, Oshothane, and Dithane are examples of common fungicides.

Insecticides such as aphids, thrips, and whiteflies can be used to spray the farm against onion insects.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Onions In Zambia?

The best time to start planting onions in Zambia is between February and June.

What Is The Best Time To Transplant Onions In Zambia?

The best time to start transplanting your onions in Zambia is during the cool of the day to prevent the leave from wilting.

How Long Does Onion Take To Grow In Zambia?

Usually it takes about 90 to 150 days for onions to reach maturation stage in Zambia.

How Profitable Is Onion Farming In Zambia?

One of the most profitable farming to venture into is onion farming, it brings about 55% ROI on your invested capital.


Growing onions in Zambia is not that difficult, all it requires is start planting early, plant quality preferable short time cultivars, avoid water logging in your onions farm and other procedure we have discussed in this content.

If there is other information you need to know, you can drop your comment via 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.

12 Replies to “[Beginners Guide] How To Grow Onions In Zambia

    1. The idea time to start the farmland cultivation if you are planting a large acre of land is to start preparation from January, and by February you should start planting.

      It means you must have start the nursery late January and do the transplanting by February

  1. Thanks for the information. In your presentation, you said that onions don’t require a lot of water cx of the reasons highlighted. why then should we start planting onions in February when the month is characterized by a lot of rains, even march which comes immediately after February has a lot of rains especially in regions like the Luapula province of Zambia. Isn’t too much water in these months going to cause poor formation of bulbs and other issues?
    Your response please

    1. No, that was why we recommended planting on loose soil, not loamy or sticky soils that do not let go of water easily, why we recommend the rainy season was that, onions do not need much water, however, it requires water for survival which it might not have access to during the dry season.

  2. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about how to grow onions. I’m a farmer based in Malawi which has similar weather conditions like Zambia. I will make use of the information to start my small holder farm. Thank you so much

    1. Our pleasure, we will keep publishing information about Malawi henceforth based on your information you just provided us with.

      Keep reading, learning and keep on feeding the nation!

    1. It depends on type of Agronomic Practices you are cultivating on your farmland. If you’re practicing organic farming, you may not need fertilizer, if you are looking for bountiful harvest and wants quicker results, you may use inorganic fertilizer. There are other organic fertilizer you can use on your crops as well..

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