A farmer’s secret guide to making big cash in tomatoes farming

A farmer’s secret guide to making big cash in tomatoes farming

Mkulima today several young Kenyans are getting into farming with little or no experience. This growing interest in farming has helped reduce the average age of a farmer from a retired 65-year-old. Today we cover a farmer’s secret guide to making big cash in tomatoes farming.

Kipsoni village in Uasin Gishu County is no different from any other in the country. Most residents are farmers farming maize, beans, and cattle.

In the same village, there is a young man Elias Kiptoo who has dared to be different. We find him with other young men forming a team of five planting crops in one section of the farm.

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The farm is dotted with other vegetables and crops but the most significant is tomato plants. This is because it takes a large space on the farm.

The 28-year old says that he ventured into farming immediately after completing his secondary school education.

He ventured into farming as a means to find school fees to facilitate his education to the next level. Luckily there was land at home that he was able to start his project on.

The venture started with farming local vegetables on a 6-acre parcel of land with little capital he could raise to purchase the seeds needed.

Starting a business was booming for the young man since he could make up to 7000 shillings in a period of seven days. He later reinvested the profits into the business and starts out in tomato farming.

Currently, he farms on a three-acre farm that he leases at 25,000 shillings for a period of three months where he farms tomatoes using the open field method.

He ensures continuous production by staggering his production. If you visit the farm tomatoes are at different stages of growth.

With such a farming initiative he says he is able to harvest throughout the year and he uses the proceeds from one harvest to facilitate the next planting.

To ensure the plants are well taken care of, he uses water from the river Moiben to irrigate his crops and in this guide for tomatoes farming when possible don’t depend on rain.

Though he has the capacity to plant three times in a year he says he only produces twice a year between the months of December and April as well as August and January.

This he does in order to harvest when the market prices are favorable and high.

Kiptoo has set up a nursery where he propagates his seedlings before he plants them on the main farm after a period of four weeks.

Planting

He says she plants the crops with manure and DAP fertilizer then applies top dressing fertilizer later during the weeding phase.

Tomatoes take 75 days to mature.

From an acre of land, he gets 400 crates of 30kgs each in a good season. This is not limited since the harvesting period is continuous as the plant grows and the tomatoes to be harvested also increases.

He sells his harvest to traders in his local market of Moiben and Eldoret and sometimes to Nairobi and the neighboring country of Uganda.

Most of the time he sells his farm produce at 5,000 shillings for a 60-kilogram crate when demand is high and at an average of 3,000 shillings when demand is low.

The cost of production per acre ranges from 100,000 to 150, 000 shillings and out of this you can an about 500,000 shillings when the market demand is favorable.

Success

From the proceeds of his hard work on the farm and his agribusiness venture, Kiptoo has been able to build a permanent house and bought land of half an acre.

Tomato farming and other farming ventures through profitable are not a bed of roses. Kiptoo grapples with issues of blight, tuta absoluta, pests, and whiteflies among other challenges.

Expert advice

Dr. Josia a crop specialist says that for tomatoes to do well potassium is key to tomato development because it is responsible for fruit quality, influencing factors like flavor and aroma in your foods.

Crop rotation on the farm helps in replenishing the minerals back to the soil. Also, you need to apply fertilizer on the farm as per the regulations indicated on the soil test results.

Potassium deficiency is made worse by acidic soils or low pH and too much rainfall or overwatering or irrigation. This is a common factor among farmers in Uasin Gishu County.

You can easily detect the lack of potassium on your plants by spotting white brown to whitish spots on the plant.

Tomatoes grow in different parts of the country and do well in areas with altitudes of over 1000 meters above sea level like Uasin Gishu County.

Sufficient irrigation and rain are key to a good harvest of your tomatoes. If you give too much water it will lead to inadequate uptake of nutrients by the plant roots.

Too little water is also dangerous since it will lead to no uptake at all.

Both the scenarios of excess water and little water causes blossom end rot, a physiological disorder that will lead to losses since the tomatoes will be unappealing and unmarketable.

Having an agribusiness question? Do you know of a successful agribusiness venture or story that you wish to share? I would like to hear from you. Send me the TIP(s) at mkulimatoday@gmail.com

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