Tomatoes are Africa’s most consumed fruit (or vegetable); eaten by millions of people across our continent’s diverse religious, ethnic and social groups. The tomato production in Nigeria is potentially worth a 100 billion naira industry.
Tomato farming is simple. Anyone can do it in any capacity, either in the backyard or in commercial quantity. Growing tomato is much more rewarding than you could ever imagined. Tomato can be grown round the year, especially in places like Kano where there is irrigation system specifically made for it. In other places, it is best cultivated during the rainy season.
1. Find A Perfect Site
The first step you need to take is for you to find a perfect site for your tomatoes farm. Choose a site that is not too far from the market. And also, there should be an easy transportation access available, in other to have an easy way of transporting your tomatoes when the time comes; after harvesting.
2. Prepare your land
Start preparing your land by weeding the grasses and making soil bed. Use organic fertilizer to work the land with it. Provide good water supply system and water the land for some days. Make sure the PH level is around 6.0 to 6.8. PH is the measure of the soil acidity or alkalinity.
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3. Choose the right tomato varieties
Another good way of getting the best from your tomatoes farming is to plant the right tomato varieties. The different varieties of tomatoes grown in the world generally are;
- Beefsteak tomatoes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Plum tomatoes
- Grapes Tomatoes
- Campari tomatoes
- Tom berries Tomatoes
- Oxheart tomatoes
- Pear tomatoes
- Slicing or Globe tomatoes
Tomato seeds are first planted in a nursery to provide adequate controlled conditions for the seeds to germinate.
After about two months from the time of transplanting, your tomato farm should be due for weeding and application of fertilizer. Fertilizers with high content of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other essential nutrient should be used to replenish the soil nutrients
Tomato is a fast-growing crop. After about three months from planting, the tomato would start to ripen, ready for harvest. Tomato is usually harvested in batches, once you harvest the first batch you would continue to harvest tomato from your farm till the plants die off (usually in dry season).
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One downside of tomato farming, as with other perishable crops, is that tomatoes have a very short shelf life. If you don’t succeed to sell your crops immediately after harvest, you will some big loss on your hands.
One way around this is to proactively find buyers before the harvest period. You can spread the word about your tomato farm right from the time you start planting. Meet major dealers in the market and let them know you have a farm.
7. Start small. Learn the ropes first
One of the biggest mistakes most new entrepreneurs make is starting big. On Smallstarter, we advise otherwise – start small. Especially with tomatoes, which require close attention and constant care, you need to learn the ropes first on a small-scale before you bet your life on it.
Tomatoes are quite sensitive to heat, water and soil conditions. So, if you want to succeed in the tomato production business, you really have to know what you’re doing.