Onion (Allium cepa L.) cultivation in Jamaica dates back to more than 50 years ago (ADC, 1963). It is a culinary ‘must use’ for Jamaican diets and more than 10 million kg is consumed annually.
Over the last 18 years, onion production has declined significantly from 4,200 tonnes in 1996 to 680 tonnes in 2013 (AMID, MOAF). Productivity over the same period averaged 12t/ha, which is considerably less than the 35-40t/ha reported in the USA and elsewhere (Chandler, 1994, Lorenz and Maynard, 1988). It is also important to note that between 2007-2012, average annual import of onions into Jamaica was 8.8 million kg, at a value of US$3.7m.