Onions are one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world. The top 4 onion producers globally are China, India, Egypt, and the USA, in that order. Onion farming is particularly profitable for small to medium scale producers. Overall there is a huge demand for onions in virtually any culture. Onions are a key inclusion in most meals prepared at homes or commercially. Onion farming is one of the most profitable crop farming business ideas. Onions are widely used in cooking. They add flavour to dishes such as stew, soup and salads. Onions are also used by food processors. Processing of onions consists of canning, oil extraction, freezing and dehydration. Thus the demand of onions is all parts of the world. So this basically poses lucrative prospects for venturing into onion farming. This article will outline how to start the onion farming business, and the onion farming business plan – PDF, Word and Excel.
Onion farming is a lucrative business, providing income for millions of people, but there are some essential decisions you need to make before you venture into the onion farming business. You have to make a decision on how many hectares you want to farm, which type of onions you will farm, which season you are going to plant your onions, and your target market. These choices will be affected by the amount of capital you have, the size & needs of your target market. If you do not have a lot of capital, you can always start small and grow your onion farming business overtime. You also need to carry out market research (Who are you going to sell the onions to? At what price?) and write a bulb onion business plan before you venture into the business. Onions are also known as bulb onions, due to their shape.
Options To Choose From
Broadly, you can sell your onions to wholesalers or retailers. You can also serve as the wholesaler and or retailer. You can sell them directly to consumers. You have considerable flexibility in how you can sell your onions. Your scale of onion production will determine which option is best. For example, if you are doing onion farming on a large scale, the direct to consumer business model can be too tasking. Meaning wholesale would be ideal.
Find A Balance
The wholesale approach is the most hassle-free but might not fetch high enough prices. Other approaches such as retailer and direct to consumer can fetch higher prices. However, they are more demanding in terms of time, resources, and effort. You can always find a balance so that you enjoy the best of each approach. Incorporate selling online since it can be much more effective.
Land for Onion Farming Business
Good bulb onion production starts with good land selection. Onions can grow well on a wide range of soil types, including sand soil, fine textured clays, however good fertile sandy loam soil is usually the best soil type. This is because it has a low sulphur content and is well drained. It allows normal development of the onion bulb, and has a good capacity of holding water. Another important factor to consider is the pH of the soil, as it should be ideally in the range of 5.0-6.8 to enable the optimum growth of the bulb onions. The land for bulb onion farming should also have the right soil structure. The soil for onion farming must permit adequate root growth to support the plant and supply water, oxygen and mineral nutrients and must be free of toxic elements. It is important that before you start farming onions on your farm, you check whether the soil is suitable for onion farming. Your onion production business plan should take into account the cost of purchasing or renting the land.
Machinery and Equipment for Onion Farming
Land preparation must be properly done to ensure the soil is ready for the onions. The range of machinery and equipment needed for your onion farming business depends on the scale of production. For small scale this can be done using hand-held equipment whereas for medium to large scale heavy machinery such as tractors and the like may be needed. Machinery and equipment needed include tractors, harvesters, boom sprayers, fertilizer spreader equipment, irrigation equipment, spray equipment, diggers, scales, ridgers, bins etc. Most farmers usually hire big machinery like tractors when they want to use them, rather than purchasing them as they are expensive.
Adequate water supply is also important meaning that irrigation is necessary. Onions can thrive quite well by the use of drip irrigation thus making the required amount of water less. There may also be need of grid hydroelectricity energy for the irrigation systems, standby diesel generators for use during power outages, or solar powered irrigation systems. Farmers especially in the rural areas who do not have the modern farming equipment use animal drawn equipment in onion farming. The higher the level of mechanization at your onion farm, the higher the efficiency of your operations, and the profitability of your onion farming business. The onion farming business plan should include the costs of acquiring and hiring the various machinery and equipment.
Bulb Onion Varieties
There are many different varieties of onions. Your choice of onion variety must be informed by the season in which you want to grow. This is because each season is characterised by its own attributes when it comes to sunlight availability. Sunlight is needed for successful bulb onion farming. The amount of daylight needed for an onion plant to begin forming a bulb varies by variety. Onion varieties are classified into three categories as short-day, intermediate-day and long-day types and this reflects the hours of sunlight (day light) which will trigger bulb formation. Short day varieties need 10 – 12 hours of daylight , intermediate-day varieties need 12-14 hours of daylight while long day varieties need 14 – 16 hours of daylight. Your choice of which onion variety to use will also depend on variety of other factors: time to maturity, yield, availability of seeds, target market preference, season, fruit quality adaptability, disease resistance among other factors. Examples of onion varieties include Texas Grano, Copra, Paterson, Tropicana, Sweet Red, White Bermuda and Candy Onion, Cabernet.
Onion Farming Inputs
You require various farming inputs when doing onion farming. The onion farming can be started using onion seeds or seedlings. It is important that you purchase your onion seeds from certified onion seed suppliers. If you opt for onion seedlings, then source them from reputable nurseries. If you buy poor quality onion seeds, your onions will not grow to their full potential and you will have poor yields.
Fertilizers are required to support the efficient growth of your onions, by providing all the nutrients needed by onions to grow to their full potential. Essential nutrients needed for the growth of onions include potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Organic matter is also important in onion farming. This can be in the form of compost, decayed leaves, animal manure etc. Organic matter is a good source of plant nutrients. Organic matter also increases the capacity of the soil to retain water and nutrients. It’s a soil conditioner.
Other farming inputs required for onion farming business include herbicides, for effective weed control at your farm. Pesticides and fungicides are required for protecting your bulb onions plants against insects and fungi. Diligent measures must be put in place to fight against pests, diseases and weeds. Some of the low-cost measures to fight these issues can be spreading thin films of sand around onion plants, mulching, crop rotation and incorporating humus into the soil.
The costs of acquiring all these inputs should be included in your onion farming business plan.
Pest And Disease Management
Some of the common onion pests are cut worms, maggots, flies, leaf miners, thrips, and mites. The composition of onions works to ward off several potential pests. Onions are rich in sulphur and that wards off pests. Regular inspection of your onion plants is imperative. When it comes to pest infestations, the signs will typically be on the leaves. It can be things like spots, larvae, or discolouration, amongst others.
The use of neem oil or insecticidal soaps works to ward off most onion pests. Upon discovering affected onions plants it is wise to remove them immediately. This will stop the proliferation of the pests in question. After removing them you must burn them offsite. All in all, for pest or disease control, there are 3 main methods. You can explore natural, manual, and lastly chemical methods. Chemical methods must be the last resort when the other methods have not worked.
Most diseases that affect onions occur due to more or less the same factors. If the weather or the general state of the environment is characterised by moisture and heat, diseases tend to occur. The most common onion diseases are fungal and bacterial ones; fungal ones being the most common. Examples of onion diseases are white rot, downy mildew, leaf blight, smut, pink root, and fusarium basal rot, amongst others.
Seed treatment is recommended as a means to avoid the incidence of diseases. You must use disease-resistant onion varieties. You must also practise crop rotation. Ensuring there is proper drainage is paramount. This will avoid scenarios where there is too much moisture. Proper weed control is important as well. When you remove weeds do not leave them lying around. Any residue can make it opportune for diseases to thrive so get rid of it. Once diseases emerge it is then best to apply applicable chemicals as soon as possible.
Harvesting And Storage Of Onions
Onions should be harvested roughly 4 months after planting them. Harvesting method mostly depends on your scale of production. For large scale you would have to use mechanical/machinery methods. For small to medium scale, with enough hands, you can use manual methods. Find a way to loosen the soil immediately around an onion plant. A garden folk is often the best for this. When the soil is sufficiently loose, you can gently pull out the onion bulbs. Then you shake them to dislodge soil attached to the onion bulb.
Before storage, you must give your onions 14 days or so to dry outside. Do this with the top leafy part still attached to the onion bulbs. Wherever you store your onions must satisfy 4 vital attributes. The place must be dark, have good ventilation, must generally be cool, and must be dry. That is why it is common for some onion farmers to use cellar, garages or sheds. The coolness here refers to temperatures ranging from 4 to 10 degrees Celsius. You can store your onions in meshed sacks, perforated cardboard boxes, or crates.
When doing onion farming business, you will need to hire part time farm workers as and when necessary. The duties which they will do include planting onion seeds, transplanting onion seedlings; applying fertilizers; ploughing; harvesting, herbiciding and pesticiding. The part time farm workers will be paid according to the number of days worked. You also require supervisors, farm manager, finance & accounting staff, and logistics staff depending on the scale of your onion farming business. The wages and salaries of your workers should be included in your bulb onion farming business plan.
Capital for Onion Farming Business
The amount of capital required for the onion farming business depends on the scale of the project. You can get a loan from the bank, or funding from investors, to use as capital to start your onion farming business. If you plan to raise capital from investors and a loan from the bank, you need a good onion farming business plan. If you don’t have access to investors and bank loan, you can use your personal savings and start small, and grow your business overtime. Onion farming is very profitable, so if you reinvest the profits you get, you can quickly grow. Even if you are not planning to get a loan, you should still get a onion farming business plan to guide you in starting and operating the business. It is essential for you to have an onion farming business plan before you venture into the onion farming business, so that you know all the costs involved and you make an informed decision.
Be Strategic – Offline And Online
Offline, your best shot is to use fresh market produce platforms. You can find high traffic spots and display your onions. Either you can sell from a fixed spot or you can move around. Many onion farmers successfully sell onions from the back of their trucks. Use online platforms as well e.g. website, social media, or online marketplaces.
Useful Psychological Hack
Studies have shown that selling onions along with other vegetables drives sales more. For instance, you can sell along with carrots, spices, or peppers. Be it you are displaying or packaging them, use this psychological hack. This increases the chances of your onions being bought by 6 times.
The market for onions is very huge and is ever increasing. The annual global demand of onions is more than 100 million tonnes. That’s a lot! You can supply your onions to individual households, schools, wholesalers, restaurants, food processors, hotels, companies, supermarkets, organizations, events etc. The onion business plan ought to include a proper marketing plan to use in your onion farming business.
Keys To Profitability
Provide Or Ensure Optimum Conditions
Onions thrive in open field settings with adequate sunlight – roughly 8 hours. Some onion varieties even need more hours of sunlight. Before the onion bulbs develop, onions need cool conditions. From bulb development onwards, they need warmer conditions. Choose the right soil i.e. fertility-rich, and well-drained. The best soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.
Carefully Choose Your Onion Varieties
It is important to carefully choose your onion varieties. If you choose wrongly you will have difficulties finding a sustainable market. For instance, there 3 major types of onions namely, yellow, red, and white. Most of the global onion market comprises yellow onions – almost 90 percent. The white ones are the least popular. Thus you need to be wary of this otherwise you might struggle to sell your onions.
That is what you need to know about starting an onion farming business. In as much as it can be profitable, you still have to be diligent from start to finish. Always ascertain the presence of a market before you start.
Pre-Written Onion Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel): Comprehensive Version, Short Funding/Bank Loan Version and Automated Financial Statements
For an in-depth analysis of the onion farming business, we encourage you to purchase our well-researched and comprehensive bulb onion farming business plan. We introduced the business plans after discovering that many were venturing into the onion production business without enough knowledge and understanding of how to run the onion farming business, how to farm the onions, lack of understanding of the financial side of the business, lack of understanding of : the industry, the risks involved , costs and profitability of the business; which often leads to disastrous losses.
The StartupBiz Global onion farming business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run your bulb onion farming business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as you will be aware of all the costs involved in setting up and running the onion business.
Uses of the Onion Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
The onion business plan can be used for many purposes including:
- Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
- Applying for a bank loan
- Start-up guide to launch your onion farming business
- As a onion farming business proposal
- Assessing profitability of the onion farming business
- Finding a business partner
- Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
- Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation
Contents of the Onion Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
The onion farming business plan include, but not limited to:
- Marketing Strategy
- Financial Statements (monthly cash flow projections, income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, break even analysis, payback period analysis, start-up costs, financial graphs, revenue and expenses, Bank Loan Amortization)
- Risk Analysis
- Industry Analysis
- Market Analysis
- SWOT & PEST Analysis
- Operational Requirements (Including technical aspects of how to farm the onions, fertilizer requirements etc)
- Operational Strategy
- Why some people in onion farming business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
- Ways to raise capital to start your onion farming business
The Pre-written onion farming business plan package consist of 4 files
- Onion Farming Business Plan – PDF file (Comprehensive Version – 84 Pages)
- Onion Farming Business Plan – Editable Word File (Comprehensive Version – 84 Pages)
- Onion Farming Business Plan Funding/Bank Loan Version- Editable Word File (Short version for applying for a loan/funding – 39 pages)
- Onion Farming Business Plan Automated Financial Statements – (Editable Excel File)
The business plan can be used in any country and can be easily edited. The financial statements are automated. This implies that you can change eg the number of hectares, selling price of the onions etc, and all the other financial statements will automatically adjust to reflect the change.
Click below to download the Contents Page of the Onion Farming Business Plan (PDF)
Get the Onion Farming Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
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We wish you the best in your onion farming business! Check out our collection of business plans , and more business ideas.