Kenya has the perfect climate and soil to grow tomatoes. The following is a guide on how to start tomato farming in Kenya.
Benefits of Farming Tomatoes in Kenya
Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the world and they are grown in almost all parts of the world. Kenya is no exception, and many farmers are reaping the benefits of tomato farming.
Tomatoes are a rich source of nutrients, and they have a host of health benefits. They are a good source of vitamins A, C and E, as well as antioxidants. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which make them a good choice for people with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Tomatoes are also a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion. Fiber is important for overall health, and it can also help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Tomatoes are an important part of a balanced diet, and they offer many health benefits. They are also a profitable crop, and there is a high demand for tomatoes in the market.
Market Demand Size of Tomatoes in Kenya
The market demand size for tomatoes in Kenya is quite high. In fact, the demand for tomatoes is so high that they are considered a staple crop in the country. This is because they are used in so many different dishes, both savory and sweet. They are also a popular ingredient in sauces and soups.
As a result of this high demand, there is a lot of money to be made in the tomato farming industry. The average price for tomatoes at the market is currently $0.50 per kilo. However, this price can vary depending on the season and the availability of the crop.
How to Grow, Care and Harvest Tomatoes
Now that you know all about tomato farming in Kenya, it’s time to get started.
To begin, you’ll need to choose a suitable location for your farm. The best climate conditions for growing tomatoes are hot and sunny with moderate rainfall. You’ll also need to choose a suitable variety of tomato to grow. Some popular varieties include orange, red and yellow tomatoes.
Once you’ve chosen your location and variety, it’s time to start planting. Tomatoes can be planted in either pots or in the ground. If planting in the ground, make sure to till the soil well and add compost or manure to provide nutrients. Be sure to water your plants regularly, especially during the hot summer months.
Tomatoes will start to ripen in late summer/early fall. Once they have reached the desired color and size, it’s time to harvest them. Cut the tomatoes from the vine using a sharp knife and place them in a basket or box.
Varieties of Tomatoes to Grow
Tomatoes are versatile and come in many varieties and there is one for every taste. The main types of tomatoes to choose from when farming in Kenya are cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, plum tomatoes, oxheart tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes are small and sweet, making them great for salads or snacks. Beefsteak tomatoes have a slightly tangy flavor and they can get quite large in size. Plum or Roma tomatoes have a high juice content making them great for sauces or cooking. Oxheart tomatoes have an earthy flavor while heirloom tomatoes have unique flavors depending on their variety.
It’s important to select a variety that is best suited for the growing conditions in Kenya as well as the market demand for specific varieties in the area. Knowing which varieties are most popular can help farmers maximize their harvest yields and profits.
Suitable Location and Climate Conditions for Tomato Farming
Tomato farming in Kenya requires suitable land, a warm climate and water. The soil should be well-drained, loose and fertile, preferably one with a high clay content as this helps keep moisture in the soil.
The ideal temperatures for tomato farming vary between 18 to 27 degrees Celsius (64 to 81 Fahrenheit). Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can affect the growth and development of the tomatoes, so it is essential that you select a place which can provide the optimum temperature conditions for your tomatoes. In addition, look for an area that receives about 8 hours of sunlight daily as this will help your plants thrive.
The amount of rainfall you receive will also have an effect on your tomato crop. Too little rain means that you’ll need to water your plants regularly, while too much rain could lead to fungal diseases like blossom-end rot or cracking of the fruit due to over-exposure to moisture. Aim for an average of about 600mm (23in)–900mm (35in) of rainfall per year in order to ensure optimal growth conditions for your tomato plants.
Market Price for Tomatoes
Now that you’ve learned how to plant, care and harvest tomatoes in Kenya, it’s time to look at the market price for tomatoes. First of all, it’s important to know that the market price depends on many factors like season, quality of the produce, demand/supply ratio and others.
Tomatoes are generally priced by weight rather than by number or size, so it’s important to understand the breakdown of prices per kilogram. Generally speaking, 1 kilogram of tomatoes can go for between KES 50-80 during peak season. However, there is a wide range of prices depending on time and location
For example, during lean seasons in some parts of Kenya you may find tomatoes going for as low as KES 20 per kilogram. On the other hand, in major cities like Nairobi or Mombasa and during peak season (December to June) prices can go up to KES 80 and sometimes even higher.
Capital you need to start farming tomatoes in kenya
How much capital do you need to start tomato farming in Kenya? That will depend on the scale of your operation, but a good rule of thumb is to plan for at least Kshs. 20,000 to cover the cost of purchasing seedlings and other inputs. This amount will also cover any additional soil preparation and fencing you may need, as well as the cost of paying laborers for any manual labor associated with your farm.
Assuming you already have land, some farmers have been able to start farming tomatoes with as little as Kshs. 10,000 by purchasing the necessary seedlings and renting tools such as hoses or tillers to help them cultivate their land. Another option is to purchase a bundle package from an online store that includes everything you need including compost and fertilizer, seeds or seedlings, and even advice from experienced farmers on how to get started.
In conclusion, tomato farming is a lucrative business venture in Kenya. The market demand and price for tomatoes is high, and the crop is easy to grow and care for. There are a number of tomato varieties that can be grown in Kenya, and the crop can be grown in a variety of climates and locations. With a little bit of planning and preparation, any entrepreneur can start a successful tomato farming business in Kenya.