After a long break, I am now back with another newly-produced onion hybrid which has hit the market with a strong surprise. This is a tried and tested Zimbabwean hybrid from a Zimbabwean seed breeder company called AVANOS.
KALUNGA PLUS is a short-season variety by which farmers can maximize profits in a short period of time if properly managed. It grows best when planted in summer and high growth period in autumn. That is good sowing period is mid-March to May.
More importantly, land preparation should be done in time and perfectly. This hybrid like any other onions does very well in well drained, sandy or sandy-loamy soils. We recommend farmers to plant the onions in straight lines for easy irrigation systems.
Farmers should use correct fertilizers and correct application rates. For good farming practice we advise to first have soil tests to give us quantities of fertilizers to apply.
We really recommend farmers to use Superfert compound C fertilizer at a ratio of 1000kg or veg –blend per hectare before transplanting. Add 180kg of Superfert ammonium nitrate for top dressing. Onion is a short rooted plant, therefore fertilizers MUST be placed to the reach of the roots. This applies to all basal fertilizers applied into the soil before transplanting.
When applying ammonium nitrate, it must be done in 3 or 4 phases starting from when the plants gets into active growth at about three weeks intervals until the necks start going soft. It is very important to apply ammonium nitrate when temperatures are warm and KALUNGA PLUS grows well than in low temperatures. We may also encourage farmers to use organic manure together with chemical fertilizers.
NOTE: constant moisture should be maintained. In hot areas irrigate after every 3 to 6 days.
To have a good quality of KALUNGA PLUS spacing is also very crucial. We encourage in-row spacing of between 7 to 10cm and inter-row 15cm. This gives us a plant population of 650 000 to 800 000 per hectare. However, we can use 4 to 5kg per hectare.
KALUNGA PLUS matures between 90 to 110 days and the bulb size ranges from 85 to 120g. The potential yield must be 35 to 65 tonnes per hectare.
We should stop applying nitrogenous fertilizers four weeks before harvesting. Reduce watering when plants show signs of foliage and discontinue completely when almost 50 percent of the plants are down and top part dry. When they are 80 percent top down, then the bulbs are mature and ready for harvest.
After harvesting, make sure you cure the onion either in the field or storage room if properly ventilated.
When in the field, cover the bulbs with their foliage or a thin layer of grass to avoid direct sunlight. KALUNGA PLUS, if properly cured, has a shelf life of between 5 and 6 months. This is a good advantage to farmers.
Unlike any other onions KALUNGA PLUS is resistant to mildew and less vulnerable to some diseases because of its short life span. So i encourage farmers to go for this hybrid because it reduces extra costs for chemicals.
In the event of disease and pest infections use the chemicals which we talked about in the last chapter on ILANGA PLUS.
Our markets also remain the same but we as farmers, always consult for prices because they are changing with demands.
Compiled by Vengai Defu
Farm & City Masvingo branch manager
For further advices and information contact me on 263-039 2264246/ 263777429362/263772137202 or sales team on 263-039 2264246/263773208930