Onion producers in the Spanish province of León have introduced a new variety this year and are opening markets in their second year of expansion. In a campaign in which the acreage has almost doubled, half of the production has been contracted at a closed price, leaving the rest with a commitment to purchase, but at the prices set by the market, which are more profitable for the producer. According to the technician of Rajorsa and promoter of the initiative, Jaime Rodríguez, since 1994, only in one campaign have the growers failed to make a profit from the crop's prices.
Leonese onions, whose main destination last year was Saudi Arabia, have taken 57 hectares, compared to last year's 30. The tests with this variety were carried out on 4 hectares in the 2017 campaign and, after verifying their viability, and given the good results of 2018, the producers, who are working to join forces in an association, have increased their production. Compared to the onions cultivated in other areas, the Leonese stand out for their longer shelf life.
This year, the number of growers has gone from nine to twelve, with two cycles sown: a short one and a longer one. The latter is mostly intended for lighter soils, in which it is possible to shorten the vegetative cycle.
The number of stores that will acquire the production has also increased from two to three (located in the provinces of Valencia and Albacete) In addition to it being sold in Saudi Arabia and in Europe, it will also go to the domestic market. The variety introduced this year does not have the golden color required by the Arabian market, said Rodríguez.
The crop stands out for its lower water consumption compared to potatoes or beet; "around 50% less," said Jaime Rodríguez, although it also requires more frequent irrigation. "All the producers who planted onions last year have now expanded their acreage," which means that last year's experience was satisfactory, although it is also true that a crop that is planted for the first time in a given area obtains better yields than in the traditional production areas.
Source: Diario de León