My name is Elitumaini Rweyemam. I am Tanzanian, aged 26, with a Bachelor of Education in languages and management from Mzumbe University. I was born in the Mangola Valley in a farming family. The valley is famous in East Africa for onion production.
Growing up, I witnessed a number of onion growers burying their produce due to poor return. I have learnt that there are several factors to poor onion harvest but that the quality of the seed is the biggest.
Poor seeds result in poor yields, no matter what other efforts are made. From this experience I was driven to start quality onion seeds production to help farmers increase their yield and make more money from farming.
Onion seeds are produced by replanting already harvested onions, this is called the ‘bulb-to-seed’ method.
In order to get the best quality seed, one has to plant the best bulbs, of good size, uniform, typical colour, free from disease and physical damage. But most farmers are obliged to sell the best they produce for profit and grow seeds from remained inferior bulbs. This results in poor seed production and the chain goes to poor onion harvesting.
We need to produce quality seeds for our farmers and also teach them to grow onions organically.
It’s a fact that our farmers are not in a good position to produce quality seeds by their own. Onion seed production needs time, knowledge, technology, and enough capital which are challenges to most farmers.
Quality onion seeds production is the project focusing on growing and producing standard onion seeds organically, without use of industrial fertilizers, and to distribute to farmers at a reasonable cost, to discourage the use of imported GMO seed. And help our farmers increase their production, produce healthier food and keep land undestroyed.
Our seed production farm will be a centre for local farmers to learn organic onion growing and seed production. Our core goal is to transform onion farming from chemical-based farming to organic farming, by producing the best seeds that will result in high yield.
Inferior seeds encourage the use of fertilizers. Our desire is to discourage fertilizer use, as we understand the side effects of agrichemicals to the land and people’s health.
Currently, I have two acres of land with available water for irrigation all year seasons. Where I grow onions.
The grant of USD 5,000, would help to expand my farm and transform it from onion growing farm to a quality-onion-seed-producing area and an organic-onion-growing-learning zone.
- Expanding the farm by buying other three acres and make them total of five acres. USD 1500.
- Buying seeds Red Bombay and Adama Red, which are good and the most marketable onion varieties, with higher bulb yields and they grow early. USD 200
- Nursery preparation and management USD 150
- Farm preparation USD 600,
- Modifying our Irrigation system, buying solar water pumps USD900.
- Transplanting and crop management USD 800.
- Harvesting onions USD 150
- Re-planting bulbs and carrying 450
- Onion seeds harvesting and storage 250
We believe that, through our project, our farmers will improve their financial gain from onion farming, because organic farming is cheap and healthier than chemical-based farming.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Elitumaini Rweyemam (Tanzania): relitumaini[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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