As an onion farmer in Kenya, one of the most important things I have to consider after harvesting my onions is how to store and transport them properly to ensure they reach their destination in good condition. In this article, I’ll share some best practices and methods that I have found to be effective in storing and transporting onions, to ensure they retain their quality and freshness.
Proper Harvesting and Curing
The first step in the proper storage and transportation of onions is to ensure they are harvested and cured properly. Onions should be harvested when the leaves have begun to yellow and the bulbs are fully mature. After harvesting, the onions should be left to cure in the sun for a few days. This will help to remove any excess moisture and to harden the outer layer of the bulbs, which will help to protect them during storage and transportation.
Once the onions are properly cured, they need to be stored in a cool, dry place. A cool room or root cellar is ideal for this purpose. Onions should be kept at temperatures between 10-15°C and with relative humidity between 60-70%. This will help to preserve their freshness and quality, and to prevent them from rotting or sprouting.
Another method of storage is grading and sorting the onions according to size, shape, and color. This can help to identify any onions that may not be suitable for sale and to separate them from the high-quality onions that will be sold.
When it comes to transportation, it’s important to use suitable containers that will protect the onions during transit. Wooden crates, plastic crates, or mesh bags are good options. The containers should be well-ventilated to allow for airflow, as this will help to keep the onions dry and prevent them from rotting.
Another important factor to consider when transporting onions is to ensure that the temperature during the transportation is maintained at the right level. Onions should be transported at temperatures between 10-15°C to prevent them from rotting or sprouting.
Another method of transportation is using refrigerated trucks, which will help to maintain a cool temperature during transit. This method is especially useful for long-distance transportation and ensures that the onions will reach their destination in good condition.
Proper storage and transportation are crucial to ensure that my onions reach the market in good condition. By following best practices such as proper harvesting and curing, using suitable containers for transportation, maintaining the right temperature during transportation, and using refrigerated trucks, I can ensure that my onions are stored and transported in a way that preserves their quality and freshness. Implementing these methods can help any onion farmer in Kenya to maximize the quality of their product and increase the profitability of their farm.