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Nueva Ecija onions now grown in Sorsogon

By Benilda Recebido

SORSOGON CITY --- Who says onions can only grow in areas with a dry climate, such as Nueva Ecija?

Researchers from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) of Sorsogon have successfully harvested onions at three experimental sites in the humid province.

The production of onions in predominantly rainy climates is now proven to be possible.

Sorsogon Gov. Edwin Hamor challenged OPAg to conduct an experiment on onion production in Sorsogon despite its unsuitability for onion cultivation due to its high rainfall levels throughout the year.

Dubbed “Participatory Technology Demonstration on Onion Production,” the project aimed to explore onion cultivation in Sorsogon, a crop traditionally grown during the dry season prevalent in Central Luzon, particularly in Nueva Ecija.

To acquire suitable knowledge on onion production, Hamor sought the assistance of Nueva Ecija provincial government, recognizing it as the onion capital of the Philippines.

Twenty agricultural extension workers and some key officials of Sorsogon were sent to Nueva Ecija on a four-day expository tour and onion production technology training in April 2023.

The training provided the technical workers with adequate knowledge of onion situations, seedling technology, production technology, pests and diseases, marketing, and post-harvest handling.

Sorsogon, categorized under Climate 2 with no pronounced dry season, was suggested by the trainers to look for other onion varieties that are tolerant of or can grow even in humid areas like Sorsogon.

The trained technical workers conducted varietal trials in three locations: Barangay Escuala in Casiguran, Sorsogon, Sorsogon Dairy Farm in Barangay Cabid-an, Sorsogon City, and Provincial Nursery in Juban, Sorsogon, in June and July last year.

The experimental plots, spanning 200 square meters each, featured three onion varieties: the White Onion, Super Pinoy, and Jumbo Batanes sown and transplanted at different intervals.

Almost four months after sowing onion seedlings, they proved successful in all their varietal sites.

“We have proven that onions can thrive in any kind of soil, be it sandy loam or clay loam, for as long as there is a suitable drainage facility,” said Provincial Agriculturist Ma. Teresa V. Destura.

However, fast-growing weeds were identified as a challenge that they overcame with diligence and perseverance.

Harvesting commenced from October to December of 2023, marking the successful realization of onion cultivation in Sorsogon.

OPAg had its first harvest of red onions in September in Barangay Escuala.

Varieties of Super Pinoy, Batanes Jumbo, and White Onion were sown and grown at the Dairy Farm and Provincial Nursery in June and July last year.

They were harvested from October to November at Sorsogon Dairy Farm, while much better quality was harvested from December 2023 to January 2024 at the provincial nursery.

“All varieties grew well in all our varietal sites,” said Destura.

OPAg, along with the municipal agriculturists, continued to explore and utilize various strategies to sustain and improve the production of onions at their respective varietal sites.

Buoyed by this achievement, the plan for expanding onion production in the current year is underway.

Specific locations such as Irosin, Casiguran, Sorsogon City, and Juban have been identified as the sites for the participatory technology demonstration of onion production, with three to four barangays each to benefit from the project.

During this phase, OPAg will provide necessary inputs, and the governor may consider incentives for diligent and dedicated farmers identified by municipal agriculturists.

“Proven effective, we shall also consider the last quarter of the year as harvest season,” said Destura.

This bold initiative not only shows the government of Sorsogon’s commitment to pushing agricultural boundaries but also highlights the resilience and determination of local farmers to overcome climatic challenges and contribute to the province’s sufficient supply while lowering onion prices in the local market, she added. (PIA 5/Sorsogon)

The province of Sorsogon can grow good quality of varieties of onions. (Office of the Provincial Agriculturist in Sorsogon).


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