Dry Season Tomato Farming (The Ultimate Guide)
Dry season tomato farming is one of the most lucrative farming ventures in Nigeria. It is not unusual for investors or farmers who practise dry season tomato cultivation to make more than 100% Returns on Investment (ROI) on their capital or investment.
The prices of tomato in Nigeria between the months of May – July increases by as much as 200%. This trend has been happening for the past 50 – 100 years. No matter what, the prices of tomatoes in Nigeria must rise in the months of May to July every year.
Why does the price of tomato increase in the months of May, June and July in Nigeria? This post will reveal all you need to know about dry season tomato growing.
What is tomato farming?
Tomato farming is the cultivation of tomato for the purpose of harvesting the fruits for consumption, processing and sales.
Tomato farming involves the preparation of farmland, installation of irrigation system and water supply infrastructure, planting of the tomato seeds, usage of fertilizers and pesticides, harvesting of the matured tomato fruits and marketing.
Most of the tomato farmers in Nigeria cultivate tomatoes in order for them to sell the fruits to buyers. Most if not all Nigerians consume tomatoes directly or indirectly every day.
A large percentage of tomato farmers in Nigeria own less than 2 hectares of tomato farms. However, there are large tomato farmers in Nigeria namely GB Foods, Dangote Foods and Olam etc.
Dry Season Tomato Farming Business Plan
Farm Set-Up for a One Hectare Dry Season Tomato Farm
|Cost of Drip Irrigation||625,000.00|
|Installation of Drip Irrigation System|
|On Site Training of staff in precision farming|
|Soil and Water Analysis|
|NPK (15 bags)||90,000.00|
|Potassium Nitrate (5 bags)||75,000.00|
|Camag (3 bags)||30,000.00|
|Insecticides (15 bottles)||30,000.00|
Profit Analysis for a One Hectare Dry Season Tomato Farm
|500 big baskets @ N15,000||7,500,000.00|
|Rent of one hectare of farmland||25,000.00|
|Labour for 6 months||240,000.00|
Factors to consider before embarking on dry season tomato farming in Nigeria
The following are the factors to consider if you want to practice dry season tomato growing in Nigeria:
Before you embark on dry season tomato farming, you need to acquire the skills needed for the cultivation of tomato. Do not rely on what you read on the web or what you learn from local tomato farmers who grow tomato in the old archaic ways.
You need to know how to use precision farming techniques for the cultivation of tomato. If you do not have these skills, you can hire experienced people who do.
Do not hire people because they have big paper qualifications in agronomy or crop science. Engage only people who have hands on experience.
We advise that you situate your farm in locations with a good road infrastructure; this will make it easy for you to evacuate your produce.
Also, do not use farmland with a bad topography or farmland that gets flooded always. You need to decide if you want to practice dry season tomato farming in the southern or the northern part of the country.
Do you want to grow tomato near a big city or you prefer to grow in rural areas? You need to consider this factor.
Engagement of staff
If you want to practice dry season tomato farming big time, you will need to hire staff. It is always better to hire people who are experienced in farming and also those who are teachable.
You will need to hire a farm manager who should be educated and unskilled labourers who may not be educated.
Water and Power
To practice dry season tomato farming in Nigeria, you will need water for irrigation like drip irrigation. You will also need a source of power. You may access power from the public grid or you use a power generator.
You can use any source of water, be it a borehole, well, river or dam.
You may need to plough, harrow and ridge your farmland. A tractor can do these tasks easily. If your soil is acidic, you may need to add lime in order to increase the pH of the soil.
Fertilizers and manure can also be added to the soil while doing soil or farmland preparation.
Soil and Water Analysis
Do not engage in dry season tomato farming venture if you have not done a soil analysis. A soil analysis will show the nutrients profile of your soil. It will also show the pH and the microbial count of your soil.
With a soil test report, you can know what to do to improve your soil.
Selection of Tomato Seed
A lot of tomato farmers in Nigeria plant only open pollinated tomato seeds. We do not advise you plant open pollinated seeds.
If you want to get great yields from dry season tomato farming, you are advised to plant only hybrid seeds.
You should also plant only the types of hybrid tomato seeds that are resistant to dry season pests and diseases. Examples of these hybrid seeds are Cobra F1, Platinum F1, Tylka F1 and Padma F1 etc.
Platinum F1 hybrid tomato variety is well known for its resistances to a lot of tomato viral diseases prevalent in the dry season.
Drip irrigation is a must for dry season tomato farming. Though, other types of irrigation can be used, drip irrigation is still the most effective and efficient type of irrigation for the cultivation of tomato in the dry season.
Drip irrigation ensures that water gets to the root zone of plants. The root zone is where plants really need water not their foliage.
Drip irrigation also enables Fertigation and Chemigation. Fertigation is the passing of soluble fertilizers to the root zone of plants through the drip irrigation pipes. Chemigation is the passing of chemicals like pesticides to the root zone of plants through the drip irrigation hoses.
With drip irrigation, the yield of tomato can increase by 100 – 200%.
Nursery trays are better used for the nursing of tomato seedlings. Substrate like cocopeat can also be used as part of the things needed to raise tomato seedlings.
The use of seedlings trays and substrate is advised.
Transplanting should be done after 3-4 weeks of raising the seedlings in the nursery. Hardening of the seedlings should also be done before transplanting.
Seedlings should be transplanted in the morning or in the evening when there is no sunlight.
The types of fertilisers to be used should be picked after a careful analysis of the soil test result.
The quantity of fertilizers, humates and manure to be used should also be assessed after analyzing the soil test report.
To successfully practice dry season tomato farming in Nigeria, pesticides must be used. You can use inorganic pesticides, organic pesticides or both.
You should only purchase the pesticides you need from credible dealers. You should also store your pesticides under the prescribed conditions.
Disease and Pest Prevention and Control
Cultural practices and the use of pesticides can be used for the prevention and control of pests and diseases.
This is very important for dry season tomato cultivation.
To guard against the incidences of diseases and to ensure good yield and good quality of produce, tomato plants should be staked.
Staking enables the tomato plant to grow upright. It stops the tomato plants from crawling on the soil where they can get infected with diseases.
When the tomato fruits are matured, they should be harvest on time. Tomato fruits are usually harvest every 2-5 days.
Harvested tomatoes should be placed in trays. The raffia baskets are not too good for the transporting of harvested tomatoes.
Marketing of produce
Before planting, you must find a way to sell the harvested tomatoes. Do you want to sell in the organised market like Shoprite or hotels?
Do you want to sell in the unorganised market like Abeokuta Oja Oba Market, Akure Oja Oba Market, Mile 12 market Lagos or any other traditional market around you?
If you prefer to sell in the organized market like Spar, you will have a constant and expected cash flow all year round.
A 60kg basket full of fresh tomatoes that can sell for N5,000 in other months of the year may sell for N25,000 in months of May - July.
Do you want to know more about dry season tomato farming in Nigeria? If yes, why not post your questions on the comments’ section or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.