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Perhaps the most abundant Allium family crop in the country, Tanzania red onion (Allium cepa L.) is a popular pickling staple. Going by the Swahili name kitunguu, this species is composed of cloves that form a large bulb with a purplish-red exterior. Its flesh is whitely subdivided by purple-edged cloves. Its smell is more pungent than that of the sweet onion. It also has a high water content that dilutes its flavor as a spice. Though Tanzania is the sixth exporter of the crop in Africa, it suffers from a low output of 2.9 tons per hectare due to pest management issues. The red onion readily finds its way into regional markets such as Kenya across the northern border. It also has export bases especially the UAE, India, and Europe.
The red onion is quite ubiquitous as it grows in all parts of the globe. Is origins are equally diverse. They include Romania, Italy and the eastern US. It now thrives in all exotic corners of the tropics including Tanzania.
Consumption of a pickled red onion gives the body with 6 percent worth of dietary fiber content per serving. The volume of iron for sharpened brain function is about 1 percent of the daily needs. The amount of magnesium for a strong bone structure is 2 percent per slice. The volume of vitamin C stands at 12 percent, substantial for immunity. There is also potassium for balancing blood electrolytes at 4 percent of the daily requirements. The level of carbohydrates is 3 percent. That of calcium stands at 2 percent of the daily needs.
We source Tanzania red onions in the famous growing area of Arusha near Kilimanjaro. Here, farmers who double as horticulturalists of various vegetables rely mainly on furrow irrigation. They cultivate on an average 1 to 2 acres of land. This makes their land organically manageable using farmyard manure. They also forgo the application of chemical sprays to keep their crops residual-free.
Our harvesting routine for Tanzania red onions begins with the examination of the leaves which should be wilted when the bulbs are mature. The bulbs at this time are plump and fully red-colored and slightly show their skin from the ground. Our trained workers use shovels to uproot the 90-day old bulbs and then ease them off the ground by hand.
We cart away the red onion harvest, roots and all, to the curing shed. Here, we lay the bulbs on top of wire racks that help to dry them in the space of about three days in the sun. For maximum aeration and exposure, we lay the harvest in a single layer and poke it now and then to ensure all sides are thoroughly dry. We finally extract dirt and debris and trim the roots and sheath in readiness for packing.
We pack Tanzania red onions in produce boxes, crates or cartons with a basic weight capacity of 11.3 kilograms. Alternatively, we use the larger 22.6-kilogram net or jute bags. These come pre-cooled to ensure that the bulbs keep fresh and retain their pungency during transit. We finally label them with such details as the name of the produce, the date of packing, the net weight and the country of origin.
We store Tanzania red onions in a moderately dry, cool environment full of ventilation. We store them in their net or jute bag packages at 0 degrees Celsius. We only hold the produce temporarily before sending it forth.
We transport them to the airport in Dar-es-Salaam at this same temperature via our trucks with refrigeration on board. You can expect the supply to reach your city on the same day or two after dispatch.
In short, Tanzania red onions are some of East Africa’s most elegant, no wonder they are in high demand in even regional countries like Kenya. We do our part of ensuring quality by sourcing only from family growers with Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certifications. You can expect the cargo to reach your destination in a shipshape condition and the right quantity as you will have stipulated. Fittingly, we put our prices on the lower margin of the current market rates to suit our clients’ budgets. Make an order today!
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