Tomatoes are juicy and yummy and make any food tasty and delicious. Did you know that the yummy tomato taste can also be felt in your pocket? Stay with me as I equip you with tips on how to crack the volatile tomato market.
Over the years, demand for tomatoes in many culinary dishes has made tomato farming a lucrative venture. This is especially true for farmers who have over the years studied market trends and perfected the art of producing quality tomatoes.
Depending on the variety, tomato plants take between 90-120 days to mature. Tomatoes thrive under consistently high temperatures and adequate moisture. Tomatoes can be grown in a greenhouse or in the open space. A smart tomato farmer staggers his crop between a greenhouse and open field depending on the weather patterns. Most tomatoes in Kenya are grown in Mwea, Oloitoktok. Nyahururu, Narok, Emali, Rambo, Juja, and Thika.
Generally, tomatoes are very delicate and susceptible to a wide range of pests and disease outbreaks. Tomato crops, therefore, need constant monitoring and care. Here are tips to guide your tomato planting venture:
- Produce Quality tomatoes.
Just like with any other product, quality is king! The measure of quality for tomatoes lies in their size and color. Once the tomatoes are harvested, they are graded and put in crates depending on the size. Big tomatoes fetch better prices and sell faster. The secret to harvesting big tomatoes lies in selecting the variety that best fits your climate area and ensuring that they get adequate moisture and are safe from pests and diseases.
- Seasonal timing
Since tomatoes don’t do well in rain, the majority of the farmers plant them during the dry season. This ensures that the crop has optimum conditions for growth. But as soon as they are ready the market is flooded with tomatoes and the price plummets leaving farmers with huge stocks of perishable tomatoes. In order not to fall into this trap you may want to consider planting your tomatoes in the greenhouse during the rainy season. During harvest time, the market will not be flooded and market forces shall be in your favor. During peak season’s tomatoes are expensive and an 80kg crate could fetch up to Kshs.10, 000 meaning a farmer needs to harvest 100 crates to make Kshs. 1million. undoubtedly, an understanding of the markets and season is a key component to your success.
- Cut off the Cartels
Cartels are a source of pain to farmers across board. They not only offer low farm gate prices but are known to manipulate markets in their favor. While it is impossible to do away with these cartels, a farmer does not have to engage with them if the farmer is convinced that his market rights are being violated. Smart farmers can escape the cartel trap by identifying a market for their crop as early as before planting. Alternatively, one can choose to take the commodity directly to the market.
- Grow Tomatoes on large scale
Farming is all about maximizing the economies of scale. Profitable farming can easily be achieved when crops are produced in bulk. Large scale production allows the farmer to enjoy bulking benefits such as ease of marketing, and maximization of labor. Since tomato growing is labor-intensive, large-scale production is viable and most profitable. At the point of sale, it’s easier to bargain for better prices when you have a bulk crop. The buyers – even at the farm gate – are willing to cater for expenses such as transport that will save you the hustle of having to take the tomatoes to the market.
With a little strategy and wit, it’s easy to become a tomato millionaire in the next 12 months. Follow us on myniusline.com to get more tips on how to growing your enterprise