1. Onion seedlings production

Seedlings are raised on seedbeds annually in early March. Seedbeds measure 1m wide and 5 lm in length. Compound S fertilizer at 450 kg per hectare is incorporated into the soil before seeding. Top dressing with AN at 35 g/m 2 2 – 3 weeks after emergence is done. Rows are marked at 200m apart. Transplanting is done after 8 – 10 weeks when seedlings are pencil thick and are about 15 – 25 cm long. Two (2) onion varieties are available namely Texas Grano and Red Pinoy. 105m2 of seedbed is established yearly which covers more than 0.6 ha.

  1. Onion bulb production

The section produces onion bulbs on 0.5 ha block annually which converts to nearly five (5) tonnes in yield. Compound S at 800 kg/ha is incorporated at planting and AN at 100 kg/ha as top dressing 4 – 6 weeks after transplanting. Transplanting to 5 – 7.5 cm spacing within row and 30 cm between rows is done. Production phase takes four months after transplanting.

  1. Onion bulb curing

Onion bulbs are harvested before onset of rains. The bulbs are first cured in the field for a week by leaving them in the field. Thereafter the bulbs are stacked in the onion shade. The shade

  • It is well ventilated on all sides and layering stacks which are composed of wire fence
  • Has a hessian sack cemented with cement and salt that dehydrates onion
  • is aligned in East-West   to avoid direct sun rays
  • has overlapping roof to facilitate rain/water drain
  1. Onion seed production

 Medium sized bulbs are retained for planting in March for seed production. Compound S at 200 kg/ha at planting and 100 kg AN 2 – 3 weeks after planting. Normally 500 kg of bulbs which produce 10 kg seed are planted yearly. Seed production takes up to 4 months.

Onion crop in flower at HRC


Agronomy Research Institute (ARI) is a government research institution that has its headquarters situated along fifth street extension in Harare. The Institute falls under the Crops Research Division of the Department of Research and Specialist Services (DR&SS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development.


ARI was established on 1 July 1976 within the DR&SS. It was established to improve coordination and administration of national crops research work in the DR&SS.

Our Mission

To generate and provide research-based agronomic technologies which promote viable, sustainable and increased crop productivity and production in Zimbabwe and beyond.

 Our Core functions


  1. 1.Conduct research to develop appropriate field crop production technologies for use by farmers
  2. 2.Package and disseminate improved research-based crop management technologies, knowledge and information that promote increased and sustainable agricultural productivity and production
  3. 3.Collect and evaluate, characterize and conserve plant and crop germplasm for propagation and distribution to growers as well as for future use
  4. 4.Offer advisory services on crop production related issues
  5. 5.Conduct screening of herbicides on all crops for registration purposes.
  6. 6.Train farmers on appropriate crop production practices

Our Core Values

Teamwork, Professionalism, Creativity, Motivated Staff, Integrity, Accountability, Commitment, Transparency, Environmental Consciousness.