This article will serve as a guide on how to start a tomato farm in Nigeria whether in a commercial or local scale, as it is the most consumed agricultural products in Nigeria.
- 1 Overview of Tomato Farming in Nigeria
- 2 How To Grow Tomatoes
- 3 Health Benefits of Tomato Farming
- 4 Tomato Farming Disadvantages & Risks Involved in Nigeria
- 5 Advantages
- 6 Conclusion
Overview of Tomato Farming in Nigeria
Tomatoes is mostly used for sauce, stew, paste, salad and also eaten as fruit.
Tomato is an agricultural product and a kind of vegetable that is widely eaten all over the globe. It takes three months to harvest after planting. The best soil to plant tomato seeds in Nigeria in case you choose to go commercial is the black loose loamy soil. Also the market to sell your tomatoes in large scale need no explanation as both pepper and tomatoes are usually at every market place in Nigeria.
Tomato farming in Nigeria can be found mostly in northern Nigeria. An example of tomato producing state is Kano, which has one of the best irrigation systems for watering the tomato farm and serves as one of the main sources of its economy.There is a high rate of consumption of this vegetable now due to the attendance health benefits attached to it. This has in a way given rise into tomatoes farming business in Nigeria.
How To Grow Tomatoes
Tomato farming is very 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.
Step 1: Pick up The Best Species
The improved yield specie is the best choice for farmers, do not pick the local species. In this case, I will recommend the Roma variety. The Roma tomato known for it’s size and redness is a plum tomato very popular in the Nigerian markets. This specie can be used both for canning and producing tomato paste. It is also commonly found in supermarkets in some countries like the United States. Roma tomatoes are also known as Italian tomatoes, it is also called Italian plum tomatoes.
What makes Roma specie very unique is it’s long shelf life, it’s hard back, and low water content which enables it to last longer after harvest. A paint rubber of the seed cost about N4,500
Step 2: Prepare The Nursery
This can be done around March/April when the rain is just beginning in most parts of the country. You can use your backyard for the nursery or any other piece of land that is suitable for it. Tomatoes does very well in most soil types in Nigeria but better in a black loose loamy soil. Prepare the ground by clearing the grasses and rubble, loosen the soil with hand trowel and hoes, remove the seeds from the tomatoes and spread it on the prepared soil.
You can cover it with dry grasses to prevent the lose of moisture from the soil and prevent birds, ants and fowls from eating off the tomato farming seeds. Within 5-7days you will see it germinating. Wait till about another five days before you remove the dry grasses to allow for proper growth. Leave it for another one month before transplanting.
Step 3: Transplant to The Garden/Farm
The final journey will be moving it into the permanent farm where they would grow to maturity and production. If your farm is too big that you can’t do the transplanting alone, hire laborers according to your need. You need to be careful with the tender plan to avoid breaking it. Transplant is best done with hands for better results.
Open the soil with piece of small wood, insert the seedling into the hole and cover it with lose soil. Tomato plan is very tender and fragile, it is best transplanted the same day you uprooted it from the nursery to avoid dehydration and fatigue.
Step 4: Weed and Apply Fertilizer
After two months from transplant, it will be time for weeding. Hire laborers to do the weeding while you supervise to ensure that your tomato plants are not damaged during the process of removing weeds. Fertilizers should be applied after the first weeding to help replenish the soil nutrients taken by the weeds. To grow successfully, tomatoes need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, potash, calcium, and magnesium, along with other trace minerals. It’s always best to have your soil tested to check for nutrient levels and pH level.
Step 5: Harvest Your Tomatoes
Tomato is harvested in matches, the moment you starts harvesting, you’ll continue on weekly basis till the end of the season, usually it will keep producing till the dry season when the plant will die off due to the scorching heat.
The first harvest starts within three months after planting. That means if you plan by April, you should be expecting your first harvest to start by June/July. From then, it will continue till November/December.
Step 6: Market Your Tomatoes
It is important to prepare your marketing well ahead of harvesting. Look for who or where to supply the product. This is because, tomato is a perishable product unless there is an available storage system.
There is need for smart entrepreneurs to see the opportunity for big business and big money in this sector. We have gotten to the point where we need young savvy entrepreneurs to break into this sector and start producing and delivering quality, hygienic tomatoes at very affordable price.
Health Benefits of Tomato Farming
- Tomatoes contains vitamin B and potassium which reduces cholesterol levels and the lowering of blood pressure.
- It’s a powerful source of vitamin E and enhance the health and sharpness of the eyes
- This wonderful fruit berry is an excellent source of good amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene
- Tomatoes deep redness mean it’s a very good source of antioxidant agents.
- Vitamin A in tomatoes helps in keeping the hair shiny and strong.
- They help in reducing the risk of kidney stones. Eating of tomatoes helps in preventing night blindness.
- Tomatoes is good for diabetic patients, contains low-calorie.
- They contain lycopene a substance used for facial cleansing. It makes ones skin to glow.
- The lycopene helps in reducing the chances of developing prostate colorectal and stomach ulcers.
- Cooked tomatoes produce more lycopene which contains natural anti-oxidants that helps in slowing down the growth of cancer.
- Tomatoes helps in maintaining strong bones because of the presence of calcium and vitamin K.
Reasons to Venture into Tomato Farming Business
- It is very simple to practice as it does not involve complex techniques.
- You can start harvesting of tomatoes after 3 months of planting depending on the variety and after that continue to harvest up until 6 months.
- Tomatoes farming is very profitable, lets look at it this way. It is only one seed that will produce a tomatoes plant which in turn can produce hundreds of tomatoes in just that one stand.
- A small rubber basket of tomatoes goes for #700-#1000 depending on the location and time. Tomatoes is always very cheap during dry season because it is harvest time.
- In other for you to maintain patronage and accelerated profit try dry season tomatoes farming.
- Of course in this agribusiness the more land you used in cultivation the more the profit potentials in view.
- Tomatoes are in high demand, as it stands demand still outweighs the supply.
Tomato Farming Disadvantages & Risks Involved in Nigeria
- As with every kind of agricultural business in Nigeria, threats such as insects, pests, birds and rodents can serve as a major threat to your tomato farm business. So employ techniques such as erecting a scarecrows to keep them away from your farm.
- Also, weeds which are unwanted plants can serve as a deterrent to your tomato farm as they share nutrient with your tomatoes leaving them mal-nourished which either kills them or slow down the rate of the growth of your tomato produce.
- It requires much capital to start.
- Tomato farming can provide for your domestic needs as you would not need to purchase them from the market any longer.
- Since it only takes approximately three months for planting to harvesting of the tomatoes, you don’t need to wait so long to harvest or sell your tomatoes.
- The market for tomatoes in Nigeria is every where so you need not look for a specific market to sell your agricultural produce as the demand of tomatoes in Nigeria is always on the high
The mass market remains the key to success in Agribusiness and I would rather sell 1,000 basket a day for N2,000 each than sell just 100 basket a day for N5,000 per basket. The money is in the mass market and we need to start seeing it that way and working that way. Produce more, sell less amount, and make more money.
If you start preparation now for this venture, you will harvest cash all season. Feel free to ask questions using the comment section and contribute your knowledge to help us all grow in this tomato farming business .