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Onion (Alluimcopa) is one of the most important commercial vegetable and it is cool seasonal vegetables. Onion production has a significant role in reducing poverty through employment generation, improving the feeding behavior of the people, and creating new opportunities for poor farmers. The general objective of the study is to analyze the value chains of onion in the study areas. With specific objectives of, to identify the opportunities and constrains of onion production and marketing in the study area. To analyze the channel of onion marketing in the study area, and to identify the main value chain actors.
Onion (Alluim Copa) is one of the most important commercial vegetable. Onion is cool seasonal crop. However, it can be grows under wide range of climate conditions. It grows well under mild climate without extreme heat or cold or excessive rainfall. The principal alliums rank second in value after tomatoes -on list of cultivated vegetable crops worldwide. These people also reminded that all plant parts of alliums may be consumed by humans (except perhaps the seed), and many wild species are exploited by local in habitants. Careful handling and the choice of suitable storage method for the cultivar type in question are vital to insure that the product retain its quality until it reaches the consumer. “Cosmetic quality is of increasing importance in competitive market. The product is produced both consumption and market. According to CSA  out of a year productive, 48.2 percent was utilized for sale, 39.9 percent for house hold consumption in construct to tomatoes where 66.7 percent of the total production is send to market.
According to lemma and Shimeles, small farmers, private growers, state enterprise mainly in awash valley and Lake Region produce 2003, in Ethiopia onion in many parts of the country while the bulk of dry bulbs and seed are produced.
Recent statically data  indicated the total hectare under onion was about 20,444 hectare with total production of 2,572,053 quintals dry bulbs per annum. Globally onion is produce to, at nearly 35 million meters per annum .
However, despite the enormous merits and potential, in Ethiopia the existing crop productivity has been low and
variable under farmers’ local condition. This is presumably due to lock of improved crop verities, shortage adapted varies to different agro-ecologies lack of input, lack of appropriate agronomic package, disease and poor extension activities.
The value chain approach considers both the benefit of a product and an insight into the actors’ roles and relations. The value chain approach analyses a product’s development process from input supply through production and processing level, transport, trade and marketing, to consumption. Despite the fact that, earlier work on agriculture concentrated mainly on improving the supply side of the respective value chains e.g. production 18 conditions and output, recent studies have also paid attention to the demand side. Here the value chain analysis concentrates on both ends of the chain corresponding with the two sides of a market.
The development of the domestic markets of onion is strongly determined by factors on the supply side; example soils, aridity, agricultural knowledge, competition, weather, and market infrastructure as well as on the demand side example increase in population, urbanization, and income-elasticity. As onion are highly perishable commodities there are many difficulties during the marketing process. Natural occurrences such as aridity, the composition of soils, and the weather are mainly responsible for creating opportunities and constraints on the supply side of the market. Seasonality strongly influences the supply side of the onion production.Production of onion in rain fed is highly affected by
seasonality (high and low supply on the markets), which is
mainly influenced by the climate and weather conditions.
Those farmers who have access to irrigation can operate more
independently of the seasons. Furthermore, the importance
of market co-ordination and market participation have been
highlight and describe as one of the most important constraints
responsible for the poor performance of onion . According to
estimations by Kelley and Byerlee some 60% of the African
rural population lives in areas of good agricultural potential,
but with poor market access. Only 22% live in areas of good
agricultural potential and good market access and 18% suffer
from poor market access and poor agricultural potential.
As onion are highly perishable, they start to close their
quality right after harvested continued throughout the process
until is it consumed, for this purpose elaborated and extensive
marketing channels facilities and equipments vital.
The crops were subjected to high price and quantity risk
with changing consumer, demands and production conditions.
Unusual production or harvesting weather or major crop
disease can influence badly the marketing system.
Water is a major component of the product hence it
makes them bulky and low value per unit that is expensive
to transport in fresh from every large time. This, therefore,
exposed farmers to lose large amount of product in the farm
The behavior of marketed surplus to changes in prices
and non-price factors like irrigation, acreage and productivity
is of critical importance. The most important factor, which
increases marketed surplus significantly, is the increased
production or output followed by consumption and payments
in kind which should be reduced to keep up the quantity of
marketed surplus of food grains.
A study conducted by Moraket indicated that households
participating in the market for horticultural commodities are
considered to be more commercially inclined due to the nature
of the product. Horticulture crops are generally perishable
and require immediate disposal. As such, farmers producing
horticulture crops do so with intent to sell. In his study it was
found that 19% of the sample households are selling all or a
proportion of their fruits and vegetable harvest to a range of
market outlets varying from informal markets to the large
urban based fresh produce markets. Typically, many of the
households producing fruits and vegetables also have access
to a dry land plot where they commonly produce maize and/
or other filed crops Bezabih & Hadera , in their research
identified pest, drought, shortage of fertilizer, and price of fuel
for pumping water as the major constraints of horticulture
production in Eastern Ethiopia. Other problems which they
reported also include poor know how in product sorting,
grading, packing, and traditional transporting affecting
According to Moti  a farm gate transaction usually
happens when crops are scarce in their supply and highly
demanded by merchants or when the harvest is bulk in quantity
and inconvenient for farmers to handle and transport to local
markets without losing product quality. For crops like tomato,
farm gate transactions are important as grading and packing
are done on the farm under the supervision of the farmer.
Therefore, households were expected to base their crop choice
on their production capacity, their ability to transport the
harvest themselves and their preferred market outlet.
A study conducted by Bossena  cotton marketing in
Metema woreda identified that four variables affect cotton
marketable supply. Owen oxen number, access to credit, land
allocated to cotton, productivity of cotton in 2005/06 were the
variables affecting positively cotton supply. Similar study on
sesame at Metema by Kinde also pointed out six variables that
affect sesame marketable supply. Yield, oxen number, foreign
language spoken, modern input use, area, time of selling were
the variables affecting positively sesame supply and unit cost
of production was found to negatively influence the supply.
Similarly, Abay  in his study of vegetable market chain
analysis identified variables that affect marketable supply.
According to him, quantity production and total area owned
were significant for onion supply but the sign for the coefficient
for total area of land was Negative. For tomato supply, quantity
of production, distance from Wrote and labor were significant.
Similarly, Rehima  in her study of pepper marketing chain
analysis identified variables that affect marketable supply.
According to her, access to market, production level, extension
contact, and access to market information were among the
variables that influence surplus.
The primary actors in onion value chain in Arbamin
chzuria Woreda were seed and other input suppliers, farmers,
traders and consumers. Each of these actors adds value in the
process of changing product title. Some functions or roles are
performed by more than one actor, and some actors perform
more than one role.
At this stage of the value chain, there are many actors who
are involved directly or indirectly in agricultural input supply
in the study area. Currently OoARD, primary cooperatives/
union and private input suppliers are the main source of
input supply. Onion growing farmers also participated in this
stage. All such actors are responsible to supply agricultural
inputs like improved seed varieties, fertilizers, herbicides,
pesticides and farm implements which are essential inputs at
the production stage. For major onion produced in Arbaminch
zuria Woreda, the majority of the sample producers used
their own seed. Regarding fertilizers, some farmers used only
organic fertilizer (manure and compost) while some farmers
used both inorganic and organic fertilizers depending on the
land size allocated to production, onion type produced and the
soil fertility status as perceived by the farmers. Pesticides are
supplied mostly by private vendors.
Onion growers are the major actors who perform most of
the value chain functions right from farm inputs preparation
on their farms or procurement of the inputs from other sources
to post harvest handling and marketing. The major value chain
functions that onion growers perform include ploughing,
planting, fertilization, irrigating, weeding, pest/disease
controlling, harvesting and postharvest handling.
The diverse agro-climatic conditions can make growing
onion crops highly cost-effective and competitive, and
provide vast opportunities in study areas. Unfortunately,
these opportunities have not been exploited by the farmers
due to the lower price they receive for their produce in the
markets, as well as bearing the cost of post-harvest losses.
Onion production in this Woreda was based on rain fed and in
small amount irrigation system. Postharvest handling, which
includes different activities like sorting, grading, packing,
storing, transportation, loading and unloading, is done by the
farmers themselves or traders). There are high postharvest
losses due to improper harvesting, handling, packaging and
poor facilities to market. Means of transportation varies
among producers to producers but predominately producers
use pack animals and vehicles.
These are traders in assembly markets who collect onions
from farmers in village markets and from farms for the
purpose of reselling it to wholesalers and retailers. They use
their financial resources and their local knowledge to bulk
onion from the surrounding area. They play important role and
they do know areas of surplus well. The trading activities of
collectors include buying and assembling, repacking, sorting,
transporting and selling to wholesale markets retailers, as
well as consumers.
Wholesalers are mainly involved in buying onion from
collectors and producers in larger volume than any other
actors and supplying them to retailers and consumers. They
also store product, usually for a maximum of three days.
Survey result indicates that wholesale markets are the main
assembly centers for onion in the surrounding areas. They
have better storage, transport and communication access than
other traders. Almost all wholesalers have a warehouse in a
market either self-owned or rental basis. They are located in
Retailer involvement in the chain includes buying of onion,
transport to retail shops, grading, displaying and selling to
consumers. Retailers are key actors in onion value chain in
both. They are the last link between producers and consumers.
They mostly buy from wholesalers and sell to urban consumers.
Sometimes they could also directly buy from the producers.
Consumers usually buy the product from retailers as they offer
according to requirement and purchasing power of the buyers.
Consumers are those purchasing the products for
consumption. About two types of onion consumers were
identified: households and, restaurants. Private consumers
purchase onion directly from producers, retailers and
wholesalers though most of the consumers purchase from
retailers. Farmers also make important segment of the
rural consumers since they consume part of their produces.
Consumers prefer medium size, circle shape, red color, strong,
dray and free from damage onion. In general consumers have
their own quality criteria to purchase vegetables.
Problems stretched from input supply late to marketing.
Understanding problems and opportunities with priorities was
very important for both research and development initiatives.
A number of production and marketing problems as well as
opportunity of production and marketing were identified in
this study and the following problems were identified in order
of importance. For sake of clear understanding problems are
divided into marketing and production problems.
Poor product handling: Absence of appropriate
postharvest handling practice reduces the farmers’ product
quality. The price of the perished product is low even it may
be not sold. Deteriorate vegetables can cause disease to human
being if it is eaten. To protect these and other problems the
farmers should keep the quality of their products’.
Pest and disease: Problem of pest and disease like root rot
.Limited production and marketing extension support- Even
though there seem sufficient number of development agents
deployed in each Kebele they lacked then Competence on preand
postharvest handling practices. It was for this fact that
farmers applied much seed rate above the recommendation,
watered the field at harvest, and did not store.,/
Unorganized input delivery: farmers used to get seeds
from open market. There were no Certification, quality test,
and failure guarantees. As a result, farmers faced problems of
Imperfect pricing system: Frequent low price at peak
supply periods that based not the real supply and demand
interaction but the information collusion and gang up between
buying participants. The intermediaries used to decide on
the price of onion products. Wholesalers were mostly the
beneficiaries and they controlled and regulated the chain.
Absence of law enforcement on standards: The
prevalence of strong and wide market cheating by wholesalers
and relaters like miss-weighing, collusion (low price quotation,
price information). There were no identified and applied
quality standards that resulted in absence of discriminatory
pricing accounting for quality and grades.
Lack of coordination among producers: Farmers were
not coordinated to increase their bargaining power. There was
no any marketing institution to safeguard farmer’s interest
and rights over their marketable produces. Even the existing
few irrigation cooperatives lacked skill and capacity on how
to go about. Rather, competition among farmers was the usual
Lack of improvement for other actors in the channel:
Limited attention was given too there parts of the channel,
like lack of attention for retailers in improving the stalls that
had very right effect on the shelf life of the products. And
other marketing problems identified in this study was lack of
credit lack of demand, quality problem, information gap, lack
of storage material and supply shortage of input are some
problems that face traders.
Availability of rain fall, facilitate the production of onion
in generating income in short period, its better productivity
in small land, its use as cash income source or livelihood
consumption, increasing price and its continuous demand in
the market were some of the opportunities of onion by most
of the producers. The survey result shows that most of the
producers intend to expand onion production due to the above
The Woredas are also naturally endowed though they
have some production and marketing opportunity. Some of
the potentials to mention are the following. The Woredas are
very suitable to produce not only onion products but also other
market oriented commodities. Of the potential crops, tropical
fruits like, mango, banana, orange and avocado; production
are some of the available potentials. On top of this, relatively
fertile arable land and abundant weather condition potential
are some to mention. Government suitable agricultural policies
designed to support farmers at the grass-root level especially
emphasis given for horticultural production in Growth and
Transformation Plan (GTP) is the other opportunity dimension.
The deployment of development agents at each kebeles based
on their academic back ground are also important policy
dimensions. Furthermore, provision of infrastructure facilities
like roads, telecommunication, power supply and financial
institutions are the infrastructural advantages that facilitate
the production and marketing of vegetables in the study area.
On the other hand, availability of market demand throughout
the year, growing number of buyers, high experience in onion
trade and growing price were some of the opportunities of
onion by most of the producers. The study result shows that
of the producers intended to expand onion due to the above
opportunities. The Woreda was not only with problems but it
had also opportunities, the trend in the growth of production
and marketing tradition in the area was one that drew
attention. Availability of market demand throughout the year,
growing number of buyers, high experience in onion trade and
growing price were some of the opportunities by most of the
producers. The natural advantage of proximity to air condition
and availability of rain throughout the year are still the
opportunities, which could facilitate commercialization in the
Woreda. The existence of good policy framework in agricultural
development manifested by employing development agents at
each Kebele and infrastructure development could facilitate
onion production and marketing. The increasing use of
mobile telephone and wireless telephone are also the other
infrastructural advantages to improve system.