A Seed-sational Future for Onion Farmers

After more than two years of farmer training programs and harvest festivals, the Onion UNION project has officially closed—but not the hope of resilience brought by the project for farmers in the Philippines looking to elevate their livelihood.

To date, the project has trained 766 out of 600 target farmers, and 73 agronomists, exceeding the target mark of 40 in the established Onion Learning Centers. This feat was successfully achieved despite the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzing the concluding activities and the country’s agricultural sector. Closing programs of the project sites in Ilocos Sur, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Occidental Mindoro were held virtually from April 16 to April 22.

“We have worked wonderfully together with ASSIST, our partner implementer, and co-financier DEG for the Onion UNION project. Integrated pest management is one of the ways to help farmers protect their crops, which is among the initiatives under the Onion UNION.  The beauty of this project is we spent several years on the activities, and we want to thank all the partners because we can now see the impact of our actions,” Henk Hermans, General Manager of East-West Seed Company on the success of the project.

Throughout the course of the project, several milestones have been achieved, including:

• Launch of 4 Onion Learning Centers in Ilocos Sur, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Occidental Mindoro

• Deployment of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies and solutions for onion farming to address the challenges of onion production loss due to natural calamities and infestation

• Development of a farmer’s guide booklet on IPM practices for pre-planting, cropping, and post-harvesting seasons 

Thanks to the introduction and training courses on various technologies such as IPM and drip irrigation systems, onion farmers in the Luzon region will now benefit from an increased yield and resilience from environmental conditions caused by climate change, new pests, and crop diseases.