How To Start A Tomato Farming Business via Afrokonnect.
Tomato farming is one of the most common but still lucrative type of farming business in the world.
At least 70% of the world consumes tomato and tomato products.
Imagine that! It implies that billions of people make use of tomato in one way or the other in their daily eating.
Luckily, the tomato farming business isn’t one that is likely to run down with the advent of technological advancements.
Instead, it’s more likely that the technological advancements will only help to improve the business venture.
This makes tomato farming business one of the best choices when seeking to go into agriculture.
Now, if by chance you’ve made up your mind about starting a tomato farm business and you find yourself wondering;
‘how do you start a tomato farm?’, worry not!
because this article gives you tips on starting your tomato business with extra information like:
- How much does an acre of tomato make?
- Is tomatoes farming profitable?
- How profitable is pepper farming?
But first, the tips.
How To Start A Tomato Farming Business – 10 Easy Steps
Before taking any step towards the beginning of your chosen farming business,
You have to conduct enough research so that you can learn all you can about tomato farming.
Just like what you’re doing with this article,
You can conduct your research by going online and asking questions from experienced farmers because you need to get information on:
- The best season for planting
- The various varieties of tomato plant
- And also the best type of soil for planting the tomato variety you’ve chosen to cultivate
- Method of irrigation that is best for tomatoes
- Pest control methods
- Fertilizer application
- Storage, Processing and transport facilities and
- How much an acre of tomato plants will produce.
You might not know it at the time, but this information will prove more than valuable in every step you take towards achieving your goal of starting a tomato farming business.
When the research is done, you can proceed to the next step.
SEE ALSO:- How to start a Restaurant Business
2. Acquire suitable land
Here, you’ll need to put in a great deal of what you’ve learned by researching to good use.
Whatever land you choose to buy must be fully suited to tomato farming needs.
Tomatoes will grow on sandy loam or clay loam but the best type of soil for growing tomatoes is pure loam.
The land should be cleared completely and ploughed if necessary, especially if the soil is too hard.
After clearing the land, it should be allowed to breathe for a few weeks before any other action is taken.
The acidity of the soil should be checked and reduced by adding lime if necessary.
After all this is done, a small portion of the soil should be tested to see if tomato plants will grow on it without any issue.
How to start tomato farming business
Watch the video below to discover about 9 mistakes to avoid when growing tomatoes;
3. Buy the seeds
There are about 10,000 different varieties of tomato plants including;
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Globe tomatoes (they are the most common variety)
- Alicante specie
- Beef steak tomato specie
- Adoration specie
- Azoychka specie
- Big rainbow specie
- Enchantment specie
- Ferris wheel specie
- Dester specie
- German lunch box specie
- Great white specie. (This specie is actually yellow in colour)
- Juliet specie
- Mcdreamy specie
- Wild cherry specie
- Monterosa specie
- Orange icicle specie
- Red currant specie
- Rosa de Barbastro specie
- Rosella specie
- Super sweet 100 specie
- Cherry Bambelo specie
- Cherry Nebula specie
- Bush Goliath specie, among others.
After your land has been cleared and has passed all necessary tests,
you’ll need to acquire seeds of the variety of tomatoes you want to plant.
To do this, you can walk into any agricultural produce store and ask for the seeds.
You can also get recommendations from other experienced and successful tomato farmers.
4. Plant your tomato
Before you start planting make sure fertilizers are applied to the soil first,
Applying fertilizer after the seeds have been planted might not be as effective.
Tomatoes are seasonal fruits i.e they have periods when they produce a very high and healthy yield and other periods when the yield will be pretty low.
For this reason, it is best to plant the tomato seeds between March and April.
This is the start of the raining season and is the most favourable time for planting tomatoes.
You have to plant the seeds in nursery beds at first which can be in a green house.
This is optional but to you can cover the soil with dry grass to reduce loss of moisture in the soil.
The seeds will germinate under a week but they are to be kept in the nursery for about a month before they are transplanted to the main field.
Transplanting is better done by hand as use of tools or machinery can damage the plant.
This simply means to water the plants, Tomato needs enough moisture to grow, not too much but just the right amount.
If perhaps your tomato seeds were planted in the dry season (not advisable), irrigation should be done every 3 days to 1 week,
depending on the needs of the tomato variety and the type of soil it’s planted on.
It doesn’t need to be watered as much during the raining season as the rain will provide more than enough moisture for the tomato plants.
Watering of plants can be done by hand through the use of watering cans.
On a large scale, a fixed irrigation system is more preferable and convenient.
The fixed irrigation system will spray water on the plants at a regulated intervals.
It’s advantages include the fact that it does not need manual operation, it has wider coverage, it is faster, more efficient and more convenient and it isn’t nearly as stressful as watering by hand.
How do you start a tomato farm
If you’re really serious about starting a Tomato Farming Business then you need to watch the video below about how to start a Tomato farm in Africa;
6. Weeding and pest control
By definition, a weed is a plant growing where it wasn’t planted.
When weeds are left to grow among plants on the farm, they choke the plants by taking up space and seizing nutrients meant for the actual cultivated plants.
In this light, they shouldn’t be left to grow with the plants but should be removed as often as possible.
There are two safe ways to go about this;
- First, they can be manually removed i.e removal by hand.
The farmer is more conscious of what is being done and will take extra care so as to not damage the tomato plants in the process of weeding.
- The second way is more effective than the first and it is the use of chemicals (herbicides).
The use of herbicides is a safe way to get rid of weeds because they target and kill only the weed and will not hurt the tomato plants if it comes in contact with them.
Another issue that might spring up on a tomato farm is pests infestation.
Pests like rust mite, thrips, nematodes, cut worms, aphids etc will ruin your tomato plants and reduce the overall yield.
While pest infestation can be taken care of by hand picking and destroying or application of pesticides, prevention them is still better than curing them and this can be done by;
- Practicing proper sanitary hygiene
- Destroying severely infected plants by burning or burying
- Crop rotation
7. Time to harvest – Tomato Farming Business
Tomato plants usually take about 3 months to mature enough for harvesting, that is 12 weeks +/- few weeks.
To be absolutely sure, the colour should tell you that it’s ripe.
For most tomato varieties, the colour of the ripe fruit is red.
For some other varieties, the colour ranges from green to pink to yellow and so on.
Tomato Farming Business
Tomato is classified as a perishable, It doesn’t have a long shelf life in it’s unprocessed state.
This is why the harvested tomatoes should be stored in the proper storage facilities.
It is recommended that the harvested tomatoes should be stored in clean dry wooden crates as sealed off boxes may cause the tomatoes to rot.
Note that the tomatoes should be stored where it can be easily accessed for transporting.
This is a completely optional step, You can decide to process your tomatoes into purees or pastes or even ketchup.
The decision is entirely up to you, Just make sure you have adequate processing facilities.
Starting a Tomato Farming Business
10. Transport and market your tomato and tomato products
Whether you process your tomatoes or decide to leave them unprocessed, you will still need to market your produce/product.
You can do this through any one of the following;
- Sell to markets in your city/state/country
- Export to other countries
- Supply tomato-based companies
Now, at the beginning of this article, we promised some extra information on some other questions you might have concerning a tomato farming business and here they are;
How much does an acre of tomato make?
An acre of tomato makes about 37,500 pounds of fruit with an average of 5000 plants.
A pound of tomato costs about $4, We’ll leave the calculations to you. Looks promising right?
How profitable is pepper farming?
It is very profitable, An acre of pepper produces an average of 52 tonnes (11,023 pounds).
A pound of pepper is estimated to be around $3. Again, we’ll leave the calculations to you.
Is tomato farming profitable?
Yes, When planted properly in the right season, on a large scale and in the right conditions, thousands of dollars can be made from tomato farming.
More so, in countries like Nigeria, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Ghana etc, there is always a demand for tomatoes throughout the year.
So if you have healthy and well stored tomatoes, you’re looking at a steady source of income throughout the year.
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