Horticulture is one of the perfect fits for agriculture in Zimbabwe. Horticulture generally deals with the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, garden crops, and ornamental plants. The horticulture industry is vast and as such offers many possible niching options. One of the strategic niches is vegetables which branch into countless specializations. One of them is onion production, especially because in Zimbabwe you can cultivate them any time of the year. However, the period stretching from February to August is the ideal time to cultivate onions in Zimbabwe. Anyways, today we are looking at onion varieties grown in Zimbabwe.

IRATI

This was Stark Ayres’ flagship variety in 2021. In 2021, Ross Bingley from Gweru managed to harvest 110 tonnes per hectare with this variety. This variety takes between 23 and 27 weeks to reach maturity. It has a golden-brown colour. It is quite uniform and firm, with the bulbs grano-shaped, measuring between 65 and 90 millimetres. The bulbs have tight necks and impeccable scale retention. Even after being mechanically harvested, they retain excellent bulb quality. They are bolt tolerant and can easily adapt to many environments. They have a good storage capacity i.e. at least 4 months. The ideal time to sow is from late January to April. Then you get to harvest between May and October.

NGWAZI

This is also a Stark Ayres variety. This is a robust and fast-growing variety. It has a firm globe-shaped bulb covered by a tight skin. The skin is multi-layered thin skin with a dark copper colour. This variety is ideal for the early fresh market. This is a variety for short-term storage i.e. 2 to 3 months. The bulbs measure between 60 and 90 millimetres. They must be sowed between January and April. Harvest must commence from late April to August.

FESTIVE

This is your best onion variety for green onion production. This particularly makes it highly sought after during the festive season, no wonder its name. The recommended spacing is 10 millimetres. This spacing can guarantee you to produce large bulbs weighing at least 200 grams. Plus the bulbs will be endowed with plenty of leaves. By the way, this is also a Stark Ayres variety. The best time to sow is between June and July. This will mean you get to harvest in December.

GOBLIN

This is an indeterminate day hybrid variety. It is brown and is medium-maturing. The bulb is globe-shaped and quite firm. The storage capacity is about 6 months. It has a high tolerance to extremely wet conditions. You can sow between October and mid-November. Harvest time is between late January and March.

NB: The following are Seed Co onion varieties

ELAD F1

They produce high yields and are excellent performers. Maturity is mid-early and their exterior colour is yellow. The fruit shape is a flat globe and they are typically large. They are firm and have a mild pungency. They have a great storage capacity spanning from 5 to 6 months.

NEPTUNE F1

This variety has good red rings and maturity is mid-late. The exterior colour is red and the fruit shape is a rounded tip. The fruits are large and firm. Mild pungency and storage capacity is 3 to 4 months.

RED CREOLE

This is a high-yielding standard variety which matures mid-late. It has a red exterior colour with a thick flat fruit shape. Medium-sized fruits with good firmness. They are pungent and their storage capacity is good.

REGENT F1

This variety has a strong resistance to Downey mildew. Maturity is mid-early and the exterior colour is yellow. The fruit size is large with a globe shape. They are firm and mildly pungent; storage capacity is good too.

SATURN F1

This is a late maturity variety – around 110 days. The exterior colour is yellow and the fruit size is roughly 9 centimetres. The fruit shape is round top and their typical use is in a dried state.

TEXAS GRANO

This is yet another high-yielding standard variety. Maturity is mid-early and the exterior colour is yellow. It has a rounded top fruit shape and the fruit is large. This is a soft variety with a mild pungency; storage capacity is moderate.

These are some of the common onion varieties grown in Zimbabwe. It is Seed Co varieties and Stark Ayres varieties. Most stockists or retailers that sell crop seeds usually have these varieties. In choosing the ideal onion variety for your location, always consult professional agronomists. After all, reputable brands selling seeds usually have the technical expertise to advise you accordingly.