Tomato farming is one of the most profitable agricultural ventures in Kenya. With the right knowledge, skills, and resources, it is possible to make a substantial income from growing tomatoes. However, the question on many people’s minds is whether it is possible to make one million shillings from tomato farming in Kenya.
The answer is yes, it is possible to make one million shillings from tomato farming in Kenya. Several successful tomato farmers have shared their experiences and strategies for achieving this goal. By following their advice and implementing best practices in tomato farming, you can increase your chances of making a substantial profit from this lucrative venture.
In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to the profitability of tomato farming in Kenya. We will also examine the experiences of successful tomato farmers who have made one million shillings or more from their tomato farms. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the potential profits and challenges associated with tomato farming in Kenya.
The tomato market in Kenya is highly competitive and dynamic. The demand for tomatoes is high, and the supply is often insufficient, leading to price fluctuations. The market is influenced by various factors, including weather patterns, pest and disease infestations, and government policies. Farmers must be aware of these factors to make informed decisions regarding their farming practices.
According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the global tomato market is projected to register a CAGR of 5.6% over the forecast period (2022-2027). However, the repeated imposition of lockdown across the world has hampered the prices of tomatoes. The closed markets have resulted in a price crash in a few markets, while in others, there was an increase in prices. The report also highlights that the demand for processed tomato products is increasing, which presents an opportunity for farmers to tap into this market.
In Kenya, the tomato market is highly fragmented, with small-scale farmers dominating the sector. The average tomato farming land is 0.13 and 1.5 ha. Soil management is a major constraint in farming tomato farmers in Kenya. Nematode infestation (Plant disease) is also a notable challenge to Kenya’s tomato farmers. The majority of Kenya’s tomato farmers use Diammonium phosphate (DAP) for planting and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) for fertilization.
Tomato farming in Kenya is highly profitable, with the potential to earn millions of shillings. A small-scale farmer can earn KES 375,000 from a quarter acre of land by harvesting and selling 7500 kgs of tomatoes at KES 50 per kg. However, farmers must be mindful of the market dynamics and invest in proper farming practices to ensure high-quality produce and maximize their profits.
Tomato farming in Kenya can be a profitable venture, but it is important to consider the cost of production. Several factors can affect the cost of production, including labor, seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. A cost analysis can help farmers determine the profitability of their tomato farming venture.
According to a study on farm-level technical efficiency analysis and production costs in tomato growth, labor costs were found to be the most important cost item. Farmers need to consider the cost of hiring labor or the opportunity cost of using their own labor. It is also important to consider the cost of seeds, which can vary depending on the variety of tomato being planted.
Fertilizer and pesticides are also important factors to consider when analyzing the cost of production. Farmers need to ensure that they are using the right amount of fertilizer and pesticides to avoid wastage and reduce the cost of production. Irrigation is also a critical factor to consider, especially in areas with low rainfall.
|Cost Item||Estimated Cost (KES)|
The table above shows an estimated cost for tomato farming in Kenya. However, it is important to note that the cost of production can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the farm, the variety of tomato being planted, and the location of the farm.
Overall, tomato farming in Kenya can be a profitable venture if farmers carefully consider the cost of production and implement strategies to reduce costs. By analyzing the cost of production, farmers can determine the profitability of their venture and make informed decisions to maximize their profits.
Tomato farming requires proper techniques to ensure a high yield and quality produce. Here are some farming techniques that can help you achieve success in tomato farming:
- Soil Preparation: Tomato plants require well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Prepare the soil by tilling and removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Add organic matter such as compost, manure, or dried leaves to improve soil fertility and structure.
- Spacing: Proper spacing is crucial for good tomato growth and yield. Plant seedlings at least 2 feet apart in rows that are 3-4 feet apart. This allows for adequate air circulation and sunlight penetration.
- Irrigation: Tomatoes require consistent watering to prevent blossom end rot and cracking. Water the plants deeply at least once a week, or more frequently during hot and dry weather conditions.
- Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in a ratio of 8-32-16 or 6-24-24. Fertilize the plants every 3-4 weeks during the growing season, but avoid over-fertilization which can lead to excessive foliage growth and poor fruit development.
- Pruning: Remove the suckers that grow in the crotch between the stem and branches to promote better air circulation and fruit development. Also, prune the lower leaves that touch the ground to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Pest and Disease Control: Tomato plants are susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, whiteflies, and early blight. Use organic or chemical pesticides and fungicides to control these problems. Rotate tomato crops every 2-3 years to prevent soil-borne diseases.
By following these tomato farming techniques, you can increase your chances of success and profitability in tomato farming.
Also Read: Tomato Farming In Kenya
Harvesting and Storage
Harvesting tomatoes at the right time is crucial to ensure that they are of high quality and fetch a good price in the market. Tomatoes are usually ready for harvest 70-80 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Here are some tips for harvesting tomatoes:
- Harvest tomatoes when they are fully ripe but still firm.
- Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stem, leaving a small portion of the stem attached to the fruit.
- Handle tomatoes carefully to avoid bruising or damaging them.
- Sort tomatoes based on size, color, and ripeness to make it easier to sell them in the market.
After harvesting, tomatoes should be stored properly to maintain their quality and prolong their shelf life. Here are some tips for storing tomatoes:
- Store tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
- Avoid storing tomatoes in the refrigerator as this can affect their flavor and texture.
- Do not store tomatoes near fruits like bananas and apples as they release ethylene gas, which can cause tomatoes to ripen and spoil quickly.
- Check tomatoes regularly for signs of spoilage and remove any that are damaged or rotten to prevent them from contaminating the rest.
Proper harvesting and storage can help farmers get a good price for their tomatoes and reduce losses due to spoilage. By following these tips, farmers can increase their chances of making a profit from tomato farming in Kenya.
Marketing and Sales
Tomatoes have a high demand and value in the market, making it easy to sell your products locally. To get the most out of your tomato farming business, you need to understand the market and develop a marketing strategy that works for you. Here are some tips:
- Identify your target market: Determine who your ideal customers are and where they are located. This will help you plan your marketing and sales strategy.
- Establish relationships with buyers: Build relationships with buyers in your local market and beyond. This will help you secure sales and possibly negotiate better prices for your products.
- Invest in packaging: Good packaging can make a big difference in the perceived quality of your products. Consider investing in attractive packaging that will help your products stand out on the shelves.
- Use social media: Social media can be a powerful tool for marketing and sales. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to showcase your products and reach potential customers.
When it comes to pricing, it is important to be competitive in the market. Keep an eye on the prices of tomatoes from other farms and adjust your prices accordingly. You may also want to consider offering discounts or promotions to attract more customers.
Remember that marketing and sales are ongoing processes. Continuously evaluate your strategy and make adjustments as necessary to ensure the success of your tomato farming business.
Tomato farming in Kenya can be a profitable venture if done correctly. One farmer, Nicholas Njagi, has shown that it is possible to make millions from tomato farming. Njagi’s seven-acre tomato farm located in Igamba-ng’ombe, Tharaka Nithi County, produces 400 boxes of tomatoes per acre, and this season is no different. With seven acres under the crop, he harvests 2,800 boxes of tomatoes.
According to Bizna Kenya, Njagi spent Ksh. 250,000 tending to the crop, and if all goes well, he expects to make sales of Ksh. 1.6 million and Ksh. 1.3 million profit in four and a half months. Tending tomatoes to yield such money requires great effort right from preparing the nursery to harvesting.
Njagi’s success can be attributed to several factors:
- Proper soil preparation and fertilization
- Effective pest and disease control
- Good irrigation practices
- Proper crop management and maintenance
It is important to note that success in tomato farming is not guaranteed, and one must be willing to put in the effort and resources necessary to achieve success. However, with proper planning and execution, it is possible to make a significant profit in tomato farming in Kenya.
Tomato farming in Kenya can be a profitable venture if done correctly. As evidenced by the search results, it is possible to make millions of shillings from tomato farming in Kenya. However, it is important to note that success in tomato farming requires proper crop care, market research, and financial management.
Small-scale farmers can start with a quarter-acre of land and earn up to KES 375,000 by selling 7500 kgs of tomatoes at KES 50 per kg. On the other hand, large-scale farmers can earn millions of shillings by investing in proper crop care and market research.
It is important to note that the tomato market in Kenya is highly competitive, and prices can fluctuate depending on the season and supply. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct market research and plan accordingly to avoid losses.
In conclusion, tomato farming in Kenya has the potential to be a lucrative venture. With proper crop care, market research, and financial management, farmers can make millions of shillings from tomato farming. However, it is important to approach tomato farming with caution and plan accordingly to avoid losses.
Sources: Geoffrey, Sigei K., et al. “Challenges and strategies to improve tomato competitiveness along the tomato value chain in Kenya.” International Journal of Business and Management 9.9 (2014): 205. Link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mariam-Mwangi/publication/273989764_Challenges_and_Strategies_to_Improve_Tomato_Competitive;ness_along_the_Tomato_Value_Chain_in_Kenya/links/608bb6b7a6fdccaebdf8f146/Challenges-and-Strategies-to-Improve-Tomato-Competitiveness-along-the-Tomato-Value-Chain-in-Kenya.pdf
Mauti, Kevin Orangi, Samuel Njiri Ndirangu, and Samuel Chege Mwangi. “Choice of information and communication technology tools in tomato marketing among smallholder farmers in Kirinyaga county, Kenya.” Journal of Agricultural Extension 25.3 (2021): 81-92. Link: https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jae/article/view/212075