Tomato production is one of the major agricultural activities in Ghana. Tomatoes production is Ghana has reached levels in the region of 400,000 metric tonnes while the consumption is way above that. It is a very profitable venture but have its own challenges.
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Botanical name: Lycopersicon esculentum (L)
Roma VFN, Pectomech VF, Tropimech, Rio Grande, Jaguar, Lindo, Titao Derma, Ada Cocoa.
Source of planting material
Buy certified seeds from reputable seed companies.
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Climatic requirements/ Site selection
Tomato requires warm days, bright sunshine and cool nights for optimum yields. High temperatures and low humidity cause excessive flower drop and reduce yields drastically. Soils should be well drained and fertile.
In tomato production, a thorough land preparation is important in enhancing early crop establishment and adequate weed control. Incorporation of well-decomposed poultry manure at the rate of 25ton/ha at land preparation may be beneficial. Prepare ridges or bed across the contours on which seedlings may be transplanted. Construct a farm pond to collect excess water and reuse for irrigation.
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Seeds can be sown in seed beds in seed trays or seed boxes. Prepare seed beds at 1.2m wide and at any convenient length and then level beds. Water beds, cover with dry grass and burn or solarize soil with transparent plastic sheets for 5-8 weeks to sterilize the soil.
Sow seeds in drills 10cm apart. Cover beds with well dried non-seeded grass or palm fronds. After emergence, remove dry grass and provide shade over the bed. Thin out weak, mal-formed seedlings to avoid overcrowding. Prick out seedlings at first true leaf stage. Transplant seedlings 3-4 weeks after emergence on the field at 5-leaf stage. Two weeks before planting on the field, apply a liquid feed of 5g/L of NPK 15-15-15. harden seedlings 1 week before transplanting by decreasing shade until at least 1-day full exposure to sunlight and/or reducing irrigation.
Planting preferably late in the afternoon. Plant 60×30 cm in the dry season and 60×60 cm in the wet season.
300g to 450g per ha. Do a germination test to avoid wasting seeds and time.
Timely weed control is necessary for healthy crop growth. This may be achieved by frequent shallow hoeing. Application of pre-emergence weedicides 3-4 days before transplanting will enhance weed control.
Irrigation in tomato production
Water supply is very important, especially in the dry season. The most critical time for ample soil moisture is during bloom and early fruiting stages.
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For a yield of 40 tons/ha tomato requires about 96kg of N,16kg of P2O5, 144kg of K2O, 68kg of Ca, 24kg of Mg and 24kg of S.
Use soil test as a guide to fertilizer application. The table below is a general recommendation for tomato production.
|Weeks after Transplanting||Rate of Application|
|2&3 split application||400kg NPK/ha|
|4-5||100kg/ha Potassium Nitrate|
|6-8 split application||100kg/ha Sulphate of Ammonia|
Application of commercial foliar sprays with an adequate amount of Boron and Manganese would enhance crop quality and yield.
Pests and Diseases Control
Major pests in tomato production are aphids, grasshoppers, whiteflies, crickets, leaf miners, beetles, mites and caterpillars. Control with the application of potassic soap solution (alata samina) at 5g/L, insecticidal soaps or recommended insecticides.
Major diseases affecting tomatoes at pre-planting and later stages include:
Damping off: Attacks seedlings on nursery beds. Control by selecting well-drained areas for the nursery and regulate irrigation. Solarize the soil for 4-6 weeks before planting, or apply recommended fungicides e.g. copper-based fungicides.
Early blight: Attacks seedlings at the seedbed stage. High temperatures may favour disease incidence. Use disease free seeds and prick out into individual containers.
Septoria leaf spot: Attacks the plant at any stage, under heavy infection, spots occur on the stems and flowers. Control by burning all tomato remains after harvest, practice crop rotation with cereals and legumes or use fungicides.
Sclerotium wilt: Attacks the base of the tomato stem. Affected plants show drooping leaves and finally a complete wilt. Control by crop rotation, good field sanitation and by the use of recommended fungicides.
Root-knot nematode: Nematodes feed on young root causing wilt and thus a reduction in fruit yield. It can be controlled by applying recommended nematicides, use of tolerant varieties and crop rotation using cereals, alternatively apply well-decomposed poultry manure.
Fruits are harvested at the mature green stage or fully ripe but firm stage depending on market demand and distance. Sort and pack in 52kg stackable wooden crates lined with foam/dry straw or 40kg stackable crates.
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|Seeds(100g x 4)||240.00|
|Fertilizer & manure||3,630.00|
|Estimated total cost||8,370.00|
Yield varies greatly with cultivar and adherence to good agricultural practices. Yields of up to 35-40 tons/ha are achievable.
The fruit should be firm and free from blemishes or any damage.
Average yield/ha = 40 tons =40,000 kg
Percentage loss of 10%
Available yield = 90/100×40,000 = 36,000kg
Packaging in 36,000kg/52kg = 692.3 boxes
Farm gate price/52 kg box = Ghc20
Income = 692 boxes x Ghc20 = Ghc13,840
Net income = Ghc13,840-Ghc8,370
Note: This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.