Tomatoes are native to South and Central America, and are now cultivated widely throughout the world. They were brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1498 and later introduced to Africa. Tomatoes are one of the most widely cultivated vegetable crops in Africa. They are grown for home consumption in the backyard of almost every homestead across sub-Saharan Africa. They are important source of vitamins and an important cash crop for both smallholders and medium-scale commercial farmers. Tomato yields in smallholder cropping systems in the region are generally far below the potential of the crop. Average yields as low as 7 tons/ha have been reported from Tanzania and 10 tons/ha from Uganda, while yields as high as 100 tons/ha have been recorded from commercial farmers in Zimbabwe.


Varieties Money maker,  Marglobe, Zawadi,  Fortune maker for domestic consumption.Cal J, Roma VF, Roma Nova, Sun Marzano for processing.
Seed Rate 200gm of seed per ha
Fertilizer Rate 200kg/ha DAP at planting time100kg/ha CAN topdressing when plants are 25cm high
Planting Spacing 60cm x 50cm with a plant population of 27778 plants per ha. Use 90x30x30 double row in dry land
Husbandry Tomatoes can be direct-seeded or transplanted in the field. Tomatoes respond very well to compost and manure. Avoid commercial nitrogen fertilisers as excess nitrogen is associated with fruit puffiness and blossom-end rot. Weeding is done by slashing the weed near the plant. For tall growing varieties, put a 2 m stake firmly in the ground for each tomato plant and tie the stems loosely as the plant grows. Pruning of tomato plants is necessary.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Late blight Rapid drying of leave and brownish dry rot of fruits Ridomil if 5% of leaf is covered (for eradication)
Early blight Steam cankers on seedlings. For protection use Mancozeb or propine
Bacterial wilt Stem may split plants wilt badly even if soil is wet.
Bacterial canker Spot on leaves resulting in partial defoliation or dropWilting of leaves Use certified seed crop rotation
Expected Duration from Planting to Harvesting 2 – 2.5 months
Climatic Conditions Tomato requires a relatively cool, dry climate for high yield and quality. The temperature range for growth is 21 to 24°C. Tomatoes can be grown in many soil types ranging from sandy loam to clay-loam soils that are rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH range is 6 to 6.5.
Harvesting Fresh-market tomatoes are often harvested at the mature-green stage and ripened in transit or in storage before they are marketed. Processing tomatoes are picked fully ripe.
Post Harvest and Storage After picking, tomatoes should be stored in a shady place. Tomatoes are packaged in containers, often 20-kg wooden boxes, bamboo baskets, plastic boxes to avoid injury and water loss. Mature-green tomatoes should be stored for 7 to 10 days at 13 to 18°C at 85 to 90% RH so that they will ripen properly.
Growing Regions Kirinyaga, Meru, Nyeri, Nakuru, Taita Taveta
Expected yields Up to 10-20 tons per hectare


Processing Processed into Tomato Sauce and Paste


Place Sold in groceries, markets and to Factories.
Price Kshs 5000 – 5600 per 70kg bag


Products / By Products Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste, Used Fresh to Flavour food
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Energy 18.0 / 1%; Carbohydrates 4.0 / 1%; Fat 0.1 / 5%; Protein 0.9 / 2%; Phosphorus 28.0 / 3%; Iron 0.7 / 4%; Pottasium 218.0 / 6% .


Yield of up to 60 tons/ha have been obtained under experimental conditions at KARI, Thika Horticultural Research Station.Some varieties like Sun Marzano and Rutgers 10x Hybrid has a yield potential of 100 tons per hectare


Income Per Hectare: Kshs 700,000 (10,000kgs * 70/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 280,000 (40% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 420,000 (60% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 4,000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Twice on rainfed and thrice under irrigation.