Onion is a common vegetable crop used globally as seasoning and for medicinal purposes (van der Meer 1997; Cheema et al. 2003). The bulb is also used widely in Ghana in the preparation of stews and soups, accounting for around one-fifth of vegetable expenditure by households (van Asselt et al. 2018). The importance of onion and the significant potential for growth in the subsector has long since been recognized, and the crop was one of the first to be prioritized under Ghana’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program.
With onion production concentrated in the north, and imports originating from Ghana’s northern borders, there are significant opportunities for trade and spatial arbitrage. The Upper East region in the savannah zone is a particularly important feeder area from where domestically produced onion is aggregated and transported to consumer markets.
Ghana’s flagship agricultural sector program, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), has prioritized onion production. This prioritization is justified given the domestic market potential of onion, on one hand, and the production challenges farmers face, on the other. Onion is an important commodity from both a production and consumption perspective. With concerted support from government, private sector production can be expanded and opportunities for import substitution can be utilized.