Provided that current trends hold, economists reckon farmers could benefit greatly from the growing local and international demand for spring onions.
According to Thabile Nkunjana, agricultural economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), thanks to a positive uptake in the demand for spring onions, farmers have the opportunity to turn the crop into a booming business. He said this last night (Wednesday, 28 July 2022) during Food For Mzansi’s Gather To Grow session on twitter.
“In recent years, there’s been a significant trend in the market where a lot more people are producing spring onions,” he said. Nkunjana pointed out that the reason for this is because of the growing demand for the commodity.
He said South Africans are also consuming more spring onions than before. Consumption is also increasing elsewhere and this is benefitting local producers in Mzansi.
“South Africa has drastically increased its exports to neighbouring countries because of the high demand. Even markets in Europe are buying from South Africa.”
The agricultural economist advised new and aspiring farmers to consider it because “spring onions can be grown throughout the year and there are big profit margins for it”.
Njunjana recommended farmers to partner with other producers, so that they could cultivate the crop as a collective group and reach more markets.
Do market research first
Andile Matukane, a Gauteng spring onion farmer and founder of Farmers Choice, said that there are several varieties farmers in the province produced.
Personally, she has opted to growing slender star, an early maturing bunching-style spring onion. She does this hydroponically. Her peers, she said, grow the velocity and apache varieties.
According to Matukane, “It’s important [for new farmers] to do [their] market research because not everyone buys spring onions. By doing market research you are able to determine who you clients will be.”
Another spring onion farmer and founder of Devroll Herbs, Devroll Legodi, pointed out that the crop is sensitive to waterlogging. As result, soil and water analysis are very important, she said.
“Soil preparation is very important. Your soil must be fluffy-like, when you walk on top of your soil your foot must [sink in]. Then you know your spring onion will be easy to grow.”
The twitter session was recorded and the full conversation will soon be available on Food For Mzansi.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.