A student entrepreneur greens his life by growing scallions

Green onions also known as scallions are one of the most common food flavors used in most rural African homes. These onions are characterized with long, green, with a white stem end that does not bulge out.

In the recent past, however, the green onions have been gradually replaced in the numerous daily recipes arguably in a fair number of household as many farmers prefer to grow the bulb onion varieties leaving consumer with little or no choice of preference.

On realizing the shortage of this food flavouring vegetable in the menu; a young entrepreneur, who is also a passionate farmer, Victor Odhiambo Oloo took it upon himself to reintroduce the green onions on a quarter piece of farm in his Komolorume village located in Migori County.

With the high prevalence of joblessness among the youth, this was the best way he could only find to cope up with his demands as well as help him fund his education. Since he took up the challenge two years ago the results have surpassed his imagination to a point of no turning back.

“We had a big land under maize so I decided to use part of it to try growing scallions and the response from the local market was more than my expectation,” he narrated.

According to Oloo, in his experience in growing the green onions, they do not require a very high labour input but rather needs a basic knowledge to ensure adequate monitoring of the crop. “Provided that the soil is well aerated and the farm is rid of weeds the onions are likely to sprout well,” he said.

While growing the onions in a seedbed, he would leave them for awhile (2-3 weeks) to allow more sets to sprout. After getting the desirable sets, he plucks them from where they are transferred to the prepared farm where they are transplanted.

Within six weeks the onions are ready for harvesting. During this period the onions shall have reached around 4 – 6 inches tall and hence suitable for uprooting or chopping off at the base.

For Oloo, he prefers growing these onions since he can harvest them more than once. “Unlike the other varieties where you uproot the entire onion,” he continued, “the green onions allow you to have a harvesting spree as they continue to grow new sets even when parts are plucked out.”

Moreover, the onions are hardly attacked by diseases and require a relatively less watering on dry season to ensure their healthy and desirable growth at all times.

Oloo, who is also a student at Thika Institute of Technology, does all the work from planting to marketing. He sorts out his harvest and cleans them before they are tied into bundles depending on the pricing targeted per bundle. After the grouping, he takes them to the specific clients whom he had properly researched on based on their ability to pay him the right price as well as their need. The remaining he normally distribute them to the local vendors operating in markets like in Awendo and the neighbouring Obama village.

Through his persistent in onion green onion farming, the young farmer has since witnessed a tremendous increase in income from the sales of his produce and is currently on the verge of expanding to an acre piece of land where he also grows other crops such as maize and sweet potatoes.

While expecting brighter days ahead, Oloo expressed his confident by vowing to step up his game. “From my last harvest, I experienced an overwhelming demand from the local schools and middlemen; this has pushed me to find more space to expand my production.” Oloo said.

Through the proceeds earned the young farmer has been able to sustain himself and obtain his basic needs and even more.

On balancing his studies and farming; given that his home is several hundred kilometers from college, he normally make occasional weekend visits from where he is able to monitor the progress of his farms. Besides, he has siblings who update him regularly on the progress as well as lend him a hand in ensuring that watering is done when required.

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