How to Plant Onions in Dry Season in Uganda

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

Uganda, like many other African countries, experiences a prolonged dry season that can make planting onions a challenge.

However, with the right techniques and strategies, it is possible to successfully plant and grow Onions during the dry season. One approach is to use drought-tolerant onion varieties, which can survive with minimal water. Another technique is to make use of irrigation systems that allow for controlled watering.

Uganda’s dry season is an ideal time to plant onions. To get started, choose a variety of onions that grows well in your area. Prepare the soil by tilling it thoroughly and adding organic matter to help it retain moisture. Plant your onion sets in rows and cover them with soil. Water regularly, and keep the soil moist until the onions are established. Mulch will help retain moisture and discourage weeds. With the right care, your onions will be ready to harvest in a few months!

Additionally, using mulch to retain moisture and shade the soil can help conserve water and reduce evaporation.

How to Plant Onions in Dry Season in Uganda Step By Step Guide

We’ve taken our time to compile the steps on how to plant Onions in dry season in Uganda. We believe that by following these tips, farmers and gardeners in Uganda can enjoy fresh and healthy Onions throughout the dry season.

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Step 1: Select The Planting Site

Selecting the right planting site is the first step in starting successful dry-season onion planting in Uganda.

One important factor to consider when selecting a planting site is the amount of sunlight it receives. Most Onions require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow and produce healthy crops. Also, the location should not have shaded by trees, buildings or other structures.

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Another important factor to consider is soil drainage. In the dry season, the soil may become dry and compact, making it difficult for water to penetrate and reach the roots of the plants. Therefore, it is important to choose a site with good soil drainage to avoid waterlogging and root rot. Soil with good drainage will allow water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots of the plants, helping them to grow and produce healthy crops.

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When selecting a site for a dry-season onion farm, it is also important to avoid areas with standing water or poor drainage. These areas can cause root rot and other soil-borne diseases that can harm the plants and reduce their productivity. Additionally, the soil in these areas may be nutrient-poor, making it difficult for plants to grow and produce healthy crops.

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Step 2: Choose The Right Onions

Select Onions that are well-suited for the dry season in your area. Some Onions that can thrive in hot and dry conditions include okra, eggplant, cowpeas, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens like kale and spinach.

Consult with local experts or agricultural extension officers to identify the best varieties for your region.

Step 3: Prepare The Planting Site

Before planting, prepare the site by clearing any weeds or debris and tilling the soil to a depth of about 15 cm.

This helps to loosen the soil and create a favorable environment for root growth.

Add organic fertilizers such as manure, compost, or bone meal to enrich the soil with nutrients and improve soil moisture retention.

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Organic fertilizers also help to improve soil structure, promote microbial activity, and increase soil fertility.

Step 4: Create Seed Beds

To improve drainage and prevent waterlogging, create raised seed beds or ridges. This technique allows excess water to drain away from the plants, preventing root rot and waterlogging.

Raised beds also provide a better-growing environment for plants, as the soil is loosened and aerated.

Step 5: Plant The Seeds

Once you have created the seed beds or ridges, it’s time to plant the seeds. Plant the seeds about 2-3 cm deep and 20-30 cm apart, depending on the size of the mature plant.

Planting the seeds at the right depth and spacing ensures optimal growth and development of the plants.

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Step 6: Water Regularly

Watering the plants regularly is crucial, especially during the first few weeks after planting, to encourage germination and establishment.

The dry season in Uganda can be harsh, and without sufficient moisture, the plants may not grow well or produce a good harvest.

Water the plants at the base, using a watering can or drip irrigation system to ensure water is delivered directly to the roots.

Read Also: [Practical Guide] How To Grow Okra In Uganda

Step 7: Mulch the Plants

Mulching is an important step in onion farming as it helps to reduce moisture loss from the soil due to evaporation.

It also helps to suppress weed growth and maintain a consistent soil temperature. To mulch, the plants spread a layer of organic material such as straw, leaves, or grass clippings around the base of the plants.

Be sure to keep the mulch away from the stem of the plant to prevent rotting.

Step 8: Protect the Plants

Protecting the plants from pests and diseases is essential for a successful harvest. Use appropriate pest control methods such as insecticides, fungicides, or natural predators to keep the plants healthy.

Read Also: How To Grow Grapes in Uganda [Beginners Guide]

Consider using integrated pest management techniques to reduce the use of chemicals and promote natural pest control.

Monitor the plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases and take action immediately to prevent infestations.

Step 9: Harvest the Onions

Harvesting the Onions at the right time is crucial for quality and yield. Different crops have different maturity periods, so it is important to follow recommended harvest practices for each specific crop.

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Some Onions, such as beans and okra, should be harvested regularly to promote continued growth and yield.

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Use sharp tools such as scissors or knives to avoid damaging the plants or fruits during harvest.

Proper storage and handling after harvest are also important to prevent spoilage and maintain quality.

Varieties of Onions that are Planted in Uganda:

In Uganda, there are several varieties of onions that are commonly planted. These include Red Creole, Texas Grano, Red Pinnoy, Yellow Globe, and Bermuda. The most popular variety, however, is the Red Creole onion, which is known for its sweet and mild flavor.

Benefits of Planting Onions in Dry Season in Uganda

Planting onions in the dry season in Uganda can have several benefits. First, it allows farmers to take advantage of the dry weather when other crops may not grow as well.

Second, onions require relatively little water compared to other crops, making them an ideal choice for dry-season planting.

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Third, onions have a long shelf life and can be stored for several months, allowing farmers to sell their harvests throughout the year.

Cost of Starting an Onions Farm in Uganda

The cost of starting an onions farm in Uganda can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the farm, the type of equipment needed, and the cost of seeds and fertilizers.

Generally, it can cost between UGX 500,000 to UGX 5,000,000 (approximately USD 140 to USD 1,400) to start a small to medium-sized onions farm in Uganda.

Projected Profit of Onions Farming in Uganda

The projected profit of onions farming in Uganda can also vary depending on several factors, such as the market demand, the yield per hectare, and the cost of production.

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Generally, a well-managed onions farm in Uganda can yield profits of up to UGX 10,000,000 (approximately USD 2,800) per hectare.

Common Diseases and Pests of Onions Farming in Uganda

Some of the common diseases and pests that can affect onion farming in Uganda include onion downy mildew, thrips, onion maggot, and purple blotch. T

o prevent or manage these diseases and pests, farmers can use crop rotation, good sanitation practices, and organic pest control methods.

How much is Onions Sold in Uganda?

The price of onions in Uganda can vary depending on several factors, such as the season, the variety, and the location.

Generally, onions can be sold for between UGX 2,000 to UGX 5,000 per kilogram (approximately USD 0.55 to USD 1.40) in local markets.

Read Also: [Beginners Guide] How To Grow Beans In Uganda

Best practices of Planting Onions in Dry Season in Uganda

Some of the best practices for planting onions in the dry season in Uganda include preparing the soil properly, selecting the appropriate onion variety, planting at the right time, and providing adequate irrigation and fertilization.

Challenges Of Planting Onions in Dry Season in Uganda

Some of the challenges of planting onions in the dry season in Uganda include water scarcity, high temperatures, and the risk of pest infestations.

To overcome these challenges, farmers can use drip irrigation, shade nets, and integrated pest management techniques.

Where To Sell Onions in Uganda

Onions can be sold in various places in Uganda, such as local markets, supermarkets, and restaurants. Farmers can also sell their onions to middlemen who can transport the produce to other regions or countries.

Different Propagation Methods of Onions in Uganda

Onions can be propagated through seeds or sets. Seeds can be sown directly into the soil, while sets are small onion bulbs that are planted in the soil.

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Sets can provide a quicker harvest than seeds, but they can also be more expensive.

Farmers can also propagate onions through transplants, which are young onion plants grown in seed trays and transplanted into the soil later.


How to Plant Onions in Uganda:

Follow the step below to plant onions in Uganda and harvest rich quality bulbs.

Step 1. Soil Preparation

Choose a site with well-draining soil that receives full sunlight. Remove any weeds or rocks from the site and loosen the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.

Step 2. Seed Selection

Select high-quality onion seeds from a reputable supplier. In Uganda, some common onion varieties include Red Creole, Bombay Red, and Texas Early Grano.

Step 3. Seed Sowing

Sow onion seeds directly into the prepared soil at a depth of 1/4 inch, spacing them about 4 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart. Cover the seeds with soil and lightly press down.

Step 3. Watering

Water the newly planted seeds immediately and then regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Step 4. Weeding

Remove any weeds that sprout up around the onions. Weeds compete with the onions for nutrients and can reduce their growth and yield.

Step 5. Harvesting

Onion bulbs are ready to harvest when the tops start to dry and fall over. Before storing them, excavate the bulbs with care and allow them to dry in the sun for a few days.

Best Fertilizer for Onions in Uganda

Onions require a well-balanced fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In Uganda, some recommended fertilizers for onion farming include:

#1. NPK 17:17:17

This fertilizer contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and is suitable for all stages of onion growth.

#2. DAP (Diammonium Phosphate)

This is a granular fertilizer that contains high levels of phosphorus and is recommended for the early stages of onion growth.

#3. Urea

This is a nitrogen-rich fertilizer that is recommended for the mid to late stages of onion growth.

Onion Yield per Acre in Uganda

The onion yield per acre in Uganda may fluctuate due to various factors including soil fertility, climate, and farming techniques. However, on average, farmers can expect to harvest between 8,000 and 12,000 kilograms of onions per acre.

Onion Farming in Uganda PDF

There are several resources available online that provide information on onion farming in Uganda in PDF format. Some recommended resources include:

  • The Uganda Onion Guide: A comprehensive guide to onion farming in Uganda, available for free on the Uganda National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) website.
  • The Onion Farming Handbook: A detailed guide to onion farming practices in Uganda, available for purchase on Amazon.

Step-by-Step Onion Farming PDF

For a detailed, step-by-step guide to onion farming in Uganda in PDF format, farmers can consult the Uganda Onion Guide mentioned above or other similar resources available online.

These resources provide information on all aspects of onion farming, from seed selection to harvesting and storage.

An Acre of Red Creole Onions in UGX

The price of a kilogram of Red Creole onions in Uganda can vary depending on the season and market demand.

However, on average, farmers can expect to sell their Red Creole onions for between UGX 2,500 and UGX 3,500 per kilogram.

Therefore, an acre of Red Creole onions that yields 8,000-12,000 kilograms can fetch between UGX 20,000,000 and UGX 42,000,000.

Growing Onions for Profit

Onion farming can be a profitable venture for farmers in Uganda, especially if they employ good farming practices and target high-value markets.

To maximize profits, farmers should focus on producing high-quality onions, use efficient irrigation and fertilization techniques, and market their produce effectively.

They can also explore value-addition opportunities such as onion powder production, which can fetch higher prices in the market.

How Long Do Onions Take to Grow:

Onions typically take between 90 and 120 days to mature, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

In Uganda, the growing season for onions is usually from March to August or September, depending on the region.

Farmers should plan their planting dates accordingly to ensure that their onions have enough time to mature before the end of the growing season.

It is also important to note that onions do not all mature at the same time, so farmers should plan for staggered harvesting to ensure a steady supply of onions throughout the season.


Planting onions in the dry season in Uganda can be challenging, but with the right techniques and resources, it is possible to achieve a successful harvest. It is important to select the appropriate onion variety, prepare the soil adequately, and provide sufficient irrigation and nutrients throughout the growing season. With these strategies, farmers can improve their yields and incomes, contributing to food security and economic growth in Uganda.

Author: David

David is a Kenyan farmer from the rural village of Nairobi. Growing up, he was surrounded by the beauty of the Kenyan countryside, which sparked his passion for farming. After completing his education, he decided to pursue a career in agriculture and has since dedicated his life to providing food for his local community. David is an experienced farmer and is experienced in a range of agricultural practices, including crop rotation, animal husbandry and soil management. He is passionate about promoting sustainable agriculture and is actively working to reduce food insecurity in his community.

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