Tue. Sep 22nd, 2020

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Costs of starting out in tomato farming – MkulimaTODAY.co.ke

5 min read
tomato farming guide mkulimatoday.co.ke

Tomatoes farming guide

Tomatoes are vegetables that are grown in different parts of the country.

It is used in the preparation of most dishes in the country.

I have received several requests asking me to write an article on the estimated costs of starting out in tomatoes farming.

Today I have covered and estimated the required capital including profits.

Many farmers tell me the only sure way they know of how to control and prevent the spread of diseases is by use of chemicals.

Factors to consider to prevent diseases

Below I cover some other ways to boost your farms production by control of diseases.

  • Don’t grow the plants on an affected area.
  • Up root and burn all the affected plants
  • Ensure you plant certified seeds
  • Don’t smoke on the tomatoes farm

Types of tomatoes

I recommend you do tomatoes farming in a greenhouse to increase productivity as compared to farming on open fields.

Greenhouse farming not only increases your productivity but also ensures better control of diseases and pests.

The harvesting period of tomatoes is between 2 or 3 months depending on the variety if the tomatoes planted.

A tomato plant is the kind of plant that needs extra care.

You can compare the plant to a human in an ICU ward and with no immunity.

Photo: courtesy Standard Media Group

The human life not only depends on the support mechanisms but also the goodwill of the doctors and nurses to maintain a pathogen free environment.

You have to take great care to prevent the infection of the plant and spread of diseases.

Tomatoes require a routine checkup routine and use of quality pesticides to ensure that the desired harvest is obtained.

Benefits of greenhouse farming

  • Good quality for the market
  • Farming even during the dry season
  • Guaranteed harvests
  • Easier control of pests and diseases

Factors to consider in tomato farming

  • Good weather conditions
  • Good quality  of seeds
  • Availability of water
  • Use of good quality pesticides

There are different seeds for different farming methods. Either open field or green house farming.

Pruning

Many farmers ignore this part. They believe the bushier the plant the more the harvest they will get.

The above is the wrong mind set if you wish to be a legendary farmer.

More leaves mean there is less light reaching the plant reducing productivity.

Many low quality fruits on the plant means more competition with the other healthier fruits. This competition means there is low quality harvest.

Prune the plants as soon as they develop bushes.

This helps in ensuring the plant receives high quality sunlight in all the important areas and boosts production by developing high quality fruits.

Also remember to cut extra leaves when the plant starts flowering so as to ensure they receive optimum energy.

Remove any fruits that seems to be of poor quality too.

When spraying the farm make sure there is enough pressure in the pump.

 To know if it is the right pressure you can see a mist like spray come from the nozzle and not droplets.

Diseases like blight can be easily controlled in a greenhouse set up.

Harvesting

Tomatoes mature between 2.5 to 3 months. This is heavily reliant on the variety of the seeds you use.

Be in the farm most of the time as much as you can.

Spending more time on the farm ensures there is productivity since you can solve problems as soon as you notice them.

For example picking up ready fruits from the farm as soon as you notice them is the best way to guarantee a bumper harvest.

Removing the ready fruits reduces competition for nutrients.

Storage

For storage and transportation purposes you should harvest the fruits when they have matured and not when they are ripe.

The harvesting color can be either green or yellow.

Tomatoes go bad easily therefore they require a lot of attention during transportation.

Follow strict production guidelines this will help you prevent and reduce post-harvest losses.

Transportation factors.

After a hard seasons work you should not lose your produce before you get to the market or to your client.

Here are some must do to finally smile to the bank.

Avoid throwing, dropping or overloading tomatoes

Don’t over fill the containers you are using for transportation

You can add value to the tomatoes to avoid any post-harvest losses

Challenges

I would recommend the use of drip irrigation at least once a week to avoid water logging the soil.

This will differ greatly depending on thee farms location.

Tomatoes with great market value is that which gets to market between December to March.

Luck of ready market: The easiest way to avoid this is by planning your production in line with the market demands.

1 tomato plant produces about 25-30 kilograms and be harvested for a period of 6 months.

Production costs

Greenhouse   400,000

Seeds               16,000

Pesticides          8,000

Fertilizer           4,000

Water              16,000

Experts              4,000

Total             448,000

The above costs are for an estimated production of 18,000 kilograms / 500 crates.

Estimated production time is 6 – 10 months.

Profit is about 320,000

Having an agribusiness problem? Do you know of a successful agribusiness venture story that you want to share I would like to hear from you? Send me the TIPS at team@mkulimatoday.co.ke

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