Importers of onions from other countries usually want to buy onion bulbs that weigh about 600 grams each. So how can Philippine farmers produce such onion bulbs?
Michael Caballes, president of Allied Botanical Corporation, says there is a theory that bigger onion bulbs can be produced in areas in higher latitude (northern Luzon). Bulb formation which starts two months after transplanting should coincide with the coolest months of the year. This means that planting should be around November so that bulb formation will be in the cool months of January and February.
Caballes adds that the number of leaves affects the size of the bulb. The more the leaves, the bigger the bulbs. Therefore, the growers should pay attention to the proper fertilization to promote leaf formation right from the start. This means also paying attention to distance of planting that will result in maximum leaf production.
The suggestion is that government researchers should conduct research that will come up with a planting protocol based on scientific findings. This should include recommended good agricultural practices (GAP) that will ensure acceptance of locally-produced onions in the export market.