By Herbert Musoke
Tomatoes are one of the vegetables consumed daily, making it a very profitable venture.
Joseph Male, the director of AVAIL Fruits of Faith farm at Magere in Wakiso district, says that tomatoes are a sensitive crop, but still easy to manage if you understand what needs to be done.
“If you are using tomatoes worth sh1,000 a day, it translates to sh30,000 a month and sh360, 000 a year. However, you can save this money and even make more money in a space of 10 by 15 meters and you get 100% return on investment,” he says.
During the Master class training which will take place on Saturday, September 30, experts will take farmers through the best agronomic practices of growing tomatoes as a business. The training is organised by the Vision Group.
Male explains that one needs to know where and how they are going to grow the tomatoes. For example, are you growing in an open field or a controlled environment (Greenhouse)?
“This will help you in selecting the best seed variety depending on disease resilience, climatic tolerance, yielding capacity, and shelf life among others,” he says.
Tomato seeds are expensive, Male advises farmers to prepare a nursery bed so as not to lose seeds.
He adds that one can buy ready seedlings which cost sh800-sh1, 500 depending on the variety and transplant them.
“Since we want to maximize land utilization, you should pick varieties that can grow going up by staking. With a good variety, one plant can give you between 4-5kgs. If a kilogram is sold at sh2,000 this means each plant will give you sh8,000 to sh10,000,” he says.
For the open field, Male grows Gama RZ F1 variety which he says can be harvested in four weeks. For the greenhouse, he grows Wezo RZ F1 which he says can be harvested between 2-3 months.
He says plant in a spacing of 50 cm and 1 meter from plant to plant. This is to allow aeration and lighting such that the crops can grow well.
“If you care well for your tomatoes, the first flash should be able to pay for all the costs and even get profit. This makes tomato growing a well-paying venture,” he says.
Therefore, don’t miss the Master class training because there is a lot to learn about growing tomatoes as a business.