PRESS RELEASE: Capacitating Onion Farmers of the Future

Manila, Philippines, July 29, 2021 – Onion production has continued to be a promising sector for local and small-scale farmers in the Philippines, with up to 1 million worth of income generated per hectare. Through the years, however, the industry has faced several challenges that hindered farmers from fully maximizing the potential of their yields such as crop diseases, and changing environmental conditions due to climate change. 

The Capacity Building on Integrated Pest Management for Onion Farmers in the Philippines or ONION UNION was initiated by ASSIST, with co-financing East-West Seed Company (EWSC) and KFW DEG last November 2018 to provide sustainable solutions to the major challenges faced by the country’s vegetable industry. Among the main objectives of the project include increasing the productivity and resilience of onion farmers by building on good agricultural practices and integrated pest management (IPM). 

After two years of farmer trainings, and harvest festivals, the Onion UNION project has trained a total of 766 farmers, exceeding its target mark of 600. Four Onion Learning Centers were established in Ilocos Sur, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Occidental Mindoro, and successfully trained 73 out of 40 target agronomists. This feat was achieved despite the coronavirus disease paralyzing the country’s agricultural sector as well as the project’s concluding activities. 

“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.

Johnny Flojimon, one of the beneficiaries and owner of a half-hectare demo farm in Occidental Mindoro expressed his appreciation towards the Onion UNION Project. With two children to support, Johnny heavily relies on his income from his farm despite having a full-time job at their local school. The introduction of IPC and other sustainable practices has fueled his desire to improve his onion farming. “I would like to thank East-West (and ASSIST) for giving us an opportunity to learn such technology on how to improve our onion production, and increase our earnings as a farmer,” Flojimon said. 

Despite the conclusion of the Onion UNION project, onion farmers in the country will continue to benefit from an increased yield and resilience thanks to the introduction and training courses on various technologies such as IPM and drip irrigation systems. 

For more information about the project’s impact, contact Francis Macatulad, Executive Director at [email protected].