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How To Earn With Onion Farming Business?

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Project Report on Cultivation of Onions

Onion is the most loved vegetable and has narrow & hollow leaves with a base that enlarges to form a bulb. The bulb is white, yellow or red in color and requires 80 to 150 days for harvesting.

Health benefits of using onion in your diet:

Onion is used in almost every household in India. You will be surprised to know the usefulness and benefits of onion. If you consume onions in your food, it helps you to avoid many diseases. What are the benefits we can get from eating onions, we can see those things point by point below:

1. It helps in reducing diabetes.
2. It makes the digestive system better.
3. Onion is beneficial for heart health.
4. The element found in onion helps in keeping the digestive system healthy.
5. Onion keeps bones healthy
6. It is helpful in getting glowing skin.
7. It can help in removing dandruff.
8. It helps in making better immunity in the body.
9. By cutting onions, water comes out of the eyes and helps in cleaning the dirt from the eyes.
10. It helps with sexual ability.

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India is the 2nd largest exporter of Onions after China. The onions in India are very pungent and are available round the year. It has three farming seasons – Rabi crops in September & October, Kharif crop in June & July, and Summer crop in January & February. Onion cultivation is very easy and profitable and doesn’t require much care & effort.

In India the major growing states are – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. Onion farming in India has been constructed at 12,58,000 ha and the productivity is about 18.3 million tonnes per ha. It requires less scale of investment for commercial farming and can earn great profits in less time.

Let us discuss the cultivation of Onions in this article.

General Information about Onions

Onion or Allium cepa belongs to the Liliceae family with Shallots, Garlic and Leeks being its closest relatives. It is a bulbous plant where the bulbs are produced annually and the leaves are semi cylindrical or tubular in structure with maximum coating on the surface. The leaves emerge from subterranean bulbs with short & branched roots. The stems of onions grow up to 200 cm in length. The flowers appear at the tip of the stem being greenish white in colour. The bulb of onions has several overlapping surfaces that can expand upto 10 cm in diameter.

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Ideal Conditions for Onion Cultivation

Onion needs a temperate type of climate with alluvial soil to grow and its cultivation depends on the growing time and the location of cultivation. It can be grown as Long day onions generally in Plains and short day onions in Hilly regions.

Climatic Requirement

Onion can be grown in a wide range of climates although it is a temperate crop but the best can be obtained by maintaining the temperature at mild, neither extreme of heat or cold nor excessive rainfall. It is a hardy plant and can survive freezing temperatures also. In India short day onions can be grown in the plains requiring 10 to 12 hours day length and the long day onion can be grown in hills with 13 to 14 hours of day length. The optimum temperature for growing onions at the vegetative stage is 13 to 24 degree Celsius and for bulbing stage, 16 to 21 degree Celsius and during maturity and harvest the temperature required is 30 to 35 degree celsius.

Soil Requirement

The best soil for onion cultivation is sandy loam to clayey soils with good drainage facilities with pH of the soil being 6.5 – 7.5. The soil should hold moisture and have sufficient organic matter. In heavy soils the bulbs can get deformed. The crop is highly sensitive to alkaline, acidic, saline and water logging soils.

Seed Rate

The seed rate of Onions is 7 – 9 kg per hectare.

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Varieties of Onion

Onion is divided into three type of varieties:

  • White Colour Varieties – The white varieties of onion are:
    • Pusa White round
    • Pusa White flat
    • Bhima Shweta
    • Bhima Shubhra
    • Agrifound White
    • Punjab-48 (S-48)
    • Punjab White
    • N-257-9-1
    • Udaipur-102
  • Yellow Colour Varieties – The yellow varieties are:
    • Early Grano
    • Brown Spanish
    • Arka Pitamber
    • Phule Swarna
  • Red Colour Varieties – The red varieties are:
    • Pusa Red
    • Pusa Ratnar
    • Pusa Madhavi
    • Pusa Ridhi
    • Arka Pragati
    • Arka Niketan
    • Arka Kalyan
    • Arka Bindu
    • Bangalore Rose
    • Arka Latina (F1)
    • Arka Kirtiman
    • Bhima Raj
    • Bhima Red
    • Bhima Super
    • Bhima Kiran
    • Bhima Shakti

Season of Onion Cultivation

Onions are cultivated both as Kharif and Rabi crops in India, because it is grown in almost all the Indian states and the time and season of its cultivation depends upon the geographical location and weather at that particular place.

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It can be better understood by the following table:

Place Season Time of Sowing Time of Transplantation Time of Harvesting
Hilly areas Rabi September-October October-November June-July
Summer November-December February-March August-October
Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan Kharif June-July July-August October-November
Rabi October- November December-January May-June
Maharashtra & Parts of Gujarat Early Kharif February-March April-May August-September
Kharif May-June July-August October-December
Late Kharif August-September October-November January-March
Rabi October-November December-January April-May
Orissa & West Bengal Kharif June-July August-September November-December
Late Kharif August-September October-November February-March
Rabi September-October November-December March-April
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Early Kharif February-April April-June July-September
Kharif May-June July-August October-November
Rabi September-October November-December March-April


Land Preparation for Onion Cultivation

Onion seeds are sowed in the nursery and the seedlings can be transplanted to the main field after 30 to 40 days. Before transplantation the field is plowed properly to remove any type of unwanted debris or soil clods. The land is properly plowed to get fine tilth and 20 tons per hectare of farmyard manure or 10 tons of Farmyard manure along with 5 tons of poultry manure or vermicomposting is incorporated into the soil at the time of the last ploughing.

After ploughing, the fields are levelled and the beds are prepared – flat or broad bed furrows depending upon the season. Flatbeds are 1.5-2 meter in width and 4-6 metre in length. Broadbed furrows are 15 cm high with top width of 120 cm and 45 cm deep to get the right spacing. Both the beds should have 15×10 cm of spacing.

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Nursery Management

For planting one acre of onion the seeds can be prepared in 0.12 acre of area and 2-4 kg of seeds. The nursery field is ploughed well and made free of soil clods. The soil is reduced to fine particles to hold enough water and should be made clear of stones, debris and weeds. For nursery preparation, raised beds are recommended with a height of 10 to 15 cm, 1 metre width and a convenient length and a distance of 30cm between the beds is kept to allow easy drainage of excess water. For controlling the weeds in the nursery, 0.2 % of Pendimethalin is used.

Seed Preparation

The onion seeds are treated with 2 gram per kg of Thiram or Trichoderma viride to prevent damage from damping off diseases and the seeds are maintained at 50-75 mm spacing and are covered with farmyard manure after sowing and watered slightly.


The seeds can be transplanted to the field after 30 to 40 days and it should be taken proper care while selecting the seedlings for transplanting. Avoid over and under aged seedlings and at the time of transplanting one third of the seedling top should be cut. The seed roots should be dipped in carbendazim solution (0.1 %) for 2 hours to reduce fungal diseases, before transplantation and 15 to 10 cm spacing should be maintained between rows and plants respectively.

Manures & Fertilizers

Apply 50% nitrogen and hundred percent of potassium Phosphorus and Sulphur as basal dose and the remaining 50% of nitrogen is to be applied into splits at 30 and 45 days after transplantation the top dressing must be completed before the development of bulb in the onions.

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The fertilizers are added as per:

  • Kharif Season – 100:50:50:50 kg per hectare of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur respectively.
  • Late Kharif Season – 150:50:50:50 kg per hectare of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur respectively.
  • Rabi Season – 150:50:80:50 kg per hectare of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur respectively.

Irrigation & Fertigation

Irrigation is necessary at the time of transplanting and thereafter subsequent irrigation is done at a 7 to 10 days interval depending upon the condition of the soil and season. Onion requires frequent furrow irrigation because it has a shallow root system but overhead irrigation should not be done because it can cause foliage diseases.

It requires 30″ of irrigation during the growing season and as it closes to harvesting time it requires more water. Irrigation can be done once in three days using drip and sprinklers and the operating pressure for a drip system is 1.5 kg per cm² and for rotary micro sprinkler 2.5 kg per cm² pressure is required.

Fertigation schedule for Onion:

Days after sowing Fertigation schedule for Onion
Date Urea Amonium sulfet 12.61.00 P. Acid Potas Mg.Sulfet Sul. Acid
kg kg kg kg kg kg kg
15 5.80
20 5.30
25 7.00 7.50
30 8.50 6.50
35 5.50 5.00 2.50
40 10.00 6.50 5.00
45 10.00 3.00 6.50
50 12.00 4.50 5.50 5.00 7.00
55 9.50 5.00 6.00 1.00
60 8.00 8.50 8.00
65 9.50 6.00 3.00 5.50 10.00
70 2.50 8.50 6.50 9.00
75 4.50 2.00 9.50 1.50
80 4.00 9.00 7.00 2.00
90 5.60 6.50 5.00 6.00 10.00
95 9.50 10.00 1.40
100 6.00 8.00 4.00 1.20
110 7.00 2.00

Fertigation should be done using Nitrogen fertilizers through drip irrigation and for basal dose 50% of Nitrogen is applied and the remaining 50% of nitrogen is applied in 7 splits maintaining 10 days time interval upto 70 days, after transplantation.

Weed Control & Management

To get better yield the bulb should be kept weed free. After transplantation, apply 0.15-0.25 kg ai/ha of Oxyfluorfen or 1.0 kg/ha of Fluchloralin or 3.5 l/ha of Pendimethalin, along with 1 hand weeding for effective growths in both Kharif & Rabi seasons. Apply 3ml/litre Pendimethalin just after sowing during nursery preparation to control weeds.

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Crop Rotation & Intercropping

Crop rotation is very important for onion cultivation to maintain the efficiency and optimal utilisation of all the applied soil mineral nutrients. The nutrients that remain unused can leach down and settle in the subsoil so planting leguminous crops would help in ensuring the utilisation of these nutrients. Thus, onion and legume cultivation sequence is a good option to maintain the soil health and optimum nutrient utilisation and also for getting higher yields.

Intercropping could also be a great option to use the resources effectively without harming the main crop. Onion can be paired with sugarcane in Rabi & Kharif seasons respectively. This would increase soil fertility and could save water by 25-30 % through drip irrigation. It is recommended that Sugar Cane should be planted in furrows & ridges and Onion in flatbed after two rows of sugarcane.

Pests & Diseases

Onions suffer from many diseases caused due to Fungi, Viruses, Bacteria, Nematodes & Insects. Some of them are:


  • Thrips
  • Eriophyid mites

Viral diseases

  • Onion Yellow Dwarf
  • Irish Yellow Spot

Fungal diseases

  • Damping off
  • Stemphylium blight
  • Purple blotch
  • Anthracnose

To control them intercropping is preferred and proper insecticides are applied after identifying the pest & diseases. You can even contact the local agricultural agents to get a more proper measure of treatment.

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Harvesting, Yield & Storage of Onions

Onions are harvested when the bulbs attain the right stage of maturity. It is done when the still green tops start dropping and they are gently pulled out from the soil. Irrigation should be stopped 10 to 15 days before harvesting and the crop is sprayed with 1000 ppm carbendazim 30 days prior to harvest as it helps in increasing the shelf life of the crop. The bulbs are cleaned and then left to dry in the field for 4 days.

The yielding of Onions is as per:

  • Kharif crop – 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare
  • Late Kharif crop – 30 to 35 tonnes per hectare
  • Rabi crop – 25 to 30 tonnes per hectare

Onions are harvested in Rabi season as it gives better shelf life than Kharif season. They are stored in jute bags or wooden baskets or in netted baskets because they emit gases which can rot them if they are not allowed to escape.

Optimum storage temperature is 30 to 35 degree Celsius with 65 to 70 % relative humidity. For longer shelf life it is stored in cold temperatures but extreme cold temperatures like -2°C could lead to freezing injury.

Cost Economics for the Onion farming:

Economics of OnionCrop cultivation under Micro Irrigation (1 Ha)
A Variable Cost Operations Qty Rate Unit Amount
1 Primary tillage operations Tractor / Rotavator 4 1000 Hrs 4000
2 Seed & seedling preparations Seed Tray + Seed + Vermi Compost + cocopit 1 6500 Set 6500
3 Weeding 10 300 Mandays 3000
4 FYM / Compost Composting 10 2500 Trolly 25000
5 Liquid Fertilizer Fertigation 1 6000 Set 6000
6 Conventional Fertilizer DAP + Urea + Potash 1 6500 Set 6500
7 Insecticides, Pesticides & Spraying 1 5000 Set 5000
8 Irrigation & Electricity 1 4500 Set 4500
9 Staking Bamboo 0 0 0
10 Harvesting Plucking 7 300 Mandays 2100
11 Miscellaneous 1 3000 Set 3000
Total Variable cost 65600
B Fixed Cost
Investment on MIS 112500.00
a Interest on MIS value @ 18% 20250.00
b Depreciation @ 10% 11250.00
c Maintenance @ 5% 5625.00
Total Fixed Cost 37125.00
Total Cost (A+B) 102725.00
Description Yield Rate Amount
Tomato 30000 8 240000.00
Total Expenditure 102725.00
Net Income 137275.00
Note: This is a tentative rate considered.


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Onion cultivation can be a good option for the farmers because it is a very demanding crop in the market and can be grown in all seasons. The marketing is also very easy as the farmers can contact the local vendors or wholesale stores or even the government market yards. It can prove to be a huge money making agribusiness as in India the crop has seen shortages since years and increase in price.



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