Traders in Zambia have raised concerns over a shortage of white onions in the market, with only last year’s harvest available in limited quantities. The scarcity of white onions has been attributed to heavy rainfall experienced in the country, which has caused challenges in their production.
Excess rains followed by floods have been blamed for creating the most difficult season for white onion production in Zambia. Fruit & Veg Traders Association President Bernard Sikunyongana stated that the country is currently relying on red onions, which are produced throughout the year, to meet the demand.
Consumers in Zambia will have to rely on red onions during April and early May, as the anticipation for the availability of white onions from the fields in the previous month looms. Sikunyongana explained that white onion production in Zambia faces significant challenges during the rainy season, as the conditions do not support the growth of this crop.
Sikunyongana further noted that there is no need for importing white onions, as there is enough supply of red onions in the market to meet the demand. He predicted that the supply of white onions directly from the fields will likely begin in May, as white onions cannot be produced during the rainy season. Red onions, on the other hand, are produced throughout the year, providing a more reliable source of supply.
The shortage of white onions in Zambia highlights the vulnerability of agricultural production to weather conditions, and the challenges faced by farmers in meeting market demand. However, this situation also presents an opportunity for local farmers to venture into onion production and capitalize on the demand for this essential vegetable. With a large market and the potential to generate income and create job opportunities, onion production could be a viable option for Zambian farmers.
Zambian authorities and agricultural organizations have been encouraging farmers to explore onion production and diversify their agricultural activities. By investing in technologies and practices that mitigate the impact of adverse weather conditions, such as excessive rainfall, farmers can enhance their resilience to such challenges and contribute to the availability of white onions in the market.
In conclusion, the shortage of white onions in Zambia due to the impact of heavy rainfall during the rainy season has raised concerns among traders and consumers. However, the availability of red onions throughout the year has helped to meet the demand to some extent. This situation underscores the need for farmers to explore alternative crops and production practices that can withstand adverse weather conditions. It also presents an opportunity for local farmers to venture into onion production and contribute to the country’s food security and economic growth. With proper support and investment, Zambian farmers can overcome the challenges posed by weather variability and ensure a stable supply of white onions in the future.