This article explains all information about tomato farming, after digesting it, you will be prepared to start your own tomato farming business in Nigeria.
Tomato is one of the most demanded essential cooking ingredients in Nigeria and every other part of the world. The majority of Nigerian cuisine requires tomatoes to be able to make it possible.
Tomatoes are used for cooking stews, soups, salads, portages, and all types of food in the country. Practically, every form of Nigerian food can be cooked with tomato.
Why Tomato Farming is Essential
It is vital for Health
Tomato is a fruit that belongs to the classes of fruit known as berries. It is a good source of vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Tomatoes are deep red in color when ripe and can be used as antioxidants like red pepper.
It is as well a great source of vitamin E and helps to boost clear sight and overall health of the eyes. Tomatoes contain a lot of health benefits.
The market and the profit margins are high.
There is always a ready market for tomatoes in Nigeria. There is no amount of tomato that is produced that will be out of market demand with the huge Nigerian population.
Nigerian farmers are currently producing less than the amounts of tomatoes demanded all over the country. This has led to the importation of processed tomatoes into the country.
In 2012, for example, Nigeria imported 65,809 tonnes of processed Tomato with a financial worth of more than N11.7 Billion. To be able to meet up the demand of Nigeria’s teeming population and reduce importation, more and more people need to go into tomato farming in Nigeria.
How to Start Tomato Farming in Nigeria
Tomato farming does not involve a complicated process. It can be started by anyone. You can start on a small scale and grow from there.
It can be grown in the fields or at your backyards or even in containers if you want to plant for domestic purposes and have no land.
Tomato farming is very lucrative and rewarding. It can be grown at any time of the year, especially with the help of an irrigation system. If you don’t have a proper irrigation system, it is best to engage in tomato farming only during the rainy season.
1. Start with good tomato species
For commercial farming, it is best to choose the best species. The roma species is a good one.
The roma tomato species is very large and normally grows into a brightly colored red plum.
This is the tomato species that is mostly demanded in the Nigerian market. It can be utilized for tomato canning, eating fresh, used in the preparation of meals, or made into a paste.
The Roma tomato species are as well-referred to as Italian tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes.
It has a very long shelf life due to its hardback and little water content.
2. The Nursery preparation of tomatoes
The nursery preparation can be planted around March and April, the start of raining season. You can make the nursery in your backyard or in any appropriate piece of land.
Tomato thrives well in any type of soil, but it does well in black and loose loamy soil. You can carry out soil preparation by clearing the grasses and debris. Afterward, use the hand trowel and hose to loosen the soil.
Take out the seeds from your chosen tomato species and spread them on the soil you have already prepared.
You can cover the nursery bed with some grasses to protect the soil moisture and stop predators like birds, ants, fowls, and so on from feeding on the seed.
The seed would normally germinate around five to seven days. Five days after germination, remove the dry grasses to help the tomato grow well.
3. Transplanting in tomato farming
The last stage is the transplanting stage when you move the tomato from the nursery to the permanent bed, where it will grow and mature and yield fruits.
If you have a large farm, you may hire laborers to help you. Be careful during this stage to avoid breaking the tender stem.
To get the best result, it is better to transplant with hand. You need to be careful with the tender stem to avoid breaking it.
Create a small opening on the soil with a block of small wood, place the seedling into the hole, and cover up the hole with lost soil.
Try to transplant as you harvest from the nursery. Do not let the seedlings harvested from the nursery stay overnight to avoid dehydration and fatigue.
4. Weeding and fertilizer of a tomato farm
Weeding the farm should be done after two months of planting. You can hire laborers to do the weeding, whereas you monitor their work to ensure that it is properly done and that no damage is caused to the tomato plants while they work.
The fertilizer application should be made after the first wedding. This will restore the soil nutrients that have been absorbed by the weeds.
For proper growth, your tomatoes need an adequate supply of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, potash, calcium, and magnesium, together with a few trace minerals. It’s best to test the soil to check the levels of nutrients and the soil pH level.
After fertilizer and manuring, the next thing is to harvest, market, and sell your products.
5. Pests and diseases control on tomatoes farm
You should control your tomato plant from all kinds of pests that may attack them. The major tomatoes diseases and pests are listed below;
- Rust mite
- Plusia looper
- Red spider mite
- Late blight
- Leaf miner
- Fusarium wilt
- Erinose mite
- Bacterial canker
How to control pests and diseases of tomatoes;
- Make sure you destroy all infected plants and take tell out of the field,
- Practice crop rotation also helps in fighting pests and diseases,
- Using registered and approved chemicals,
- Practicing proper sanitation in your tomatoes farm,
- Build an adequate drainage control system.
How to Store Tomatoes
Most tomatoes farmers send their tomatoes to the market immediately after harvesting, so they don’t bother much about storage.
- Ripe tomatoes, you should keep in room temperature away from sunlight. Make sure they are kept in a single layer; they must not touch each other and should be stem side up. Consume or sell them within a couple of days.
- Overripe tomatoes are very soft to touch with red flesh are best to store in the fridge. The cold temperature will keep them from in their current state and prevent them from ripening more, but they should last for another couple of days. Please note that refrigerated tomatoes may lose their flavor. To consume, you will have to put them at room temperature for about 2 hours.
- Unripe tomatoes should be stem side down, either in a paper bag or in a box in a single layer. Keep them in a cool area until they get ripe and become red in color.
Best States for growing tomatoes in Nigeria
Tomatoes can actually be grown in any part of the country as long as you have decent soil that can aid their growth.
That been said, some states in Nigerian are notable for planting tomatoes. Most of these states are in the northern part of Nigeria; they are as follow;
- Bauchi State
- Gombe State
- Taraba State
- Jigawa State
- Kano State
- Zamfara State
- Kaduna State
- Sokoto State
- Katsina State
Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Tomatoes
Watch the video below to know the possible mistakes to avoid when growing tomatoes.
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