Tomato production in Nigeria is one of the lucrative farming one can engage in as tomato is one of the crops we use probably every day in our homes. Tomato is a very healthy crop used to prepare so many delicacies in Nigeria which makes it an important crop in Nigeria. While some eat it raw, others use it cook stew, jellof rice, salad, and so many other delicacies.
Tomato production in Nigeria cannot be overlooked. So duty calls that every home should engage in tomato farming; if not in a large, then in a small scale for the family. Tomato (Lycopeersicon esculentum) is one of the annual crops produced in Nigeria. It grows about 1 to 3 meters tall; with many tender branches that bears its red succulent fruit. The fruit has lots of seeds inside which makes it easy to propagate by seed.
Research has been made and proven that tomato originates from America and from there, spread to the whole world.
Tomato Producing States In Nigeria
In Nigeria, tomato is produced in every state but there are states that engage in the commercial production of tomatoes. They are Gombe, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Benue, Jigawa, and Plateau.
How To Start Up Your Tomato Farming
There are basic things one needs to do to start up tomato farm. They are;
Land preparation: this is very important in every crop production processes because the soil is where crops get almost all they need for growth and development. Tomatoes thrive well in loamy garden soil with acidic PH. The soil needs to be enriched with poultry waste or compost manure and watered for several days prior to the planting date and weeds should be cleared to avoid any form of competition. The land should not be located in a waterlogged area.
Planting: the seed is planted first in a nursery bag for close observation and gentle handling. As soon as the seedlings emerge, it is transplanted to the permanent site already prepared. Transplanting is best done early in the morning or late in the evening and during this period, care is taken not to mal-handle the seedlings.
Staking and caging: these should be established at the time of planting. The stake keeps the fruits of the ground to avoid contamination and the cage is to keep the plant growing upright.
Weeding: weeding should be done any time you see weeds sprouting. You do not necessarily need to wait for weeks or months before you weed, so as not to engage these tomatoes in any form of competition.
Fertilizer application: this is done after weeding to enrich the soil. It should be done bit by bit; after weeding, before flowering, and before fruiting. By so doing, the plant gets the nutrient it needs for each phase of growth. NPK fertilizer is good and also trace minerals are required for its growth and development and that should be given in right quantity
Watering and mulching: tomatoes are water-loving plants, therefore it should be watered generously but not to be waterlogged. The root surface should be covered with carefully selected grass free from pests because tomatoes are susceptible to pest and diseases.
Pest control: weeds are the host of most of the pest of tomatoes. If weeds are controlled perfectly well then there will not be a problem of pest. The last resort, if uncontrollable is to use pesticide.
Harvesting: tomato matures in 3months or thereabout, depending on the species. Some mature early while the others mature late. It turns from green to red when ripe. During this stage, there should be a constant check of the farm to pick the ripe ones as soon as possible to avoid contamination and spoilage. If possible, harvesting should be done according to size and color. Marketing should follow immediately after harvesting because of the perishable nature of tomato
This part is not difficult at all because of the popularity and usefulness of this crop and it can be consumed by both adult and children. This crop can be taken to any nearby market around you and it will be sold. It should be noted that tomato is perishable in nature and needs to be sold soon after harvesting.
Preservation Techniques of Tomato
Tomatoes are delicate and perishable within a short period of time if not preserved or store the right way. To store the tomatoes, put them in a wooden box, or a basket or you can use a carton. One can also dry the tomatoes and when you want to use, soak it in a hot water leave it for a while then use; this method last longer.
Processing Techniques of Tomato
The fresh tomato can be processed into tomato paste, ketchup, tomato juice, tomato sauce, and so many other things.
Tomato Farming in Nigeria PDF
For further reading check this free PDF on tomato production in Nigeria, click here
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