According to a recent post, the persistent fuel scarcity, insecurity and foreign exchange restriction forced the prices of tomato in Lagos to up by about 30 percent. For instance, 4 medium sized tomatoes now sells for N500. The other probably more significant factor is of course the infamous tomato ebola.
Regardless of the reasons for the price increase, this is likely the best time to start a tomatoes/pepper farming business in Lagos. With only 2-3 months to plant, harvest your tomatoes and make profits, imagine how much you’ll be making in a year. Oh yes, the Federal Government agencies have found a cure for the disease, and may have developed a virus resistant tomato.
Growing tomatoes is a rewarding and inexpensive business to start. Tomatoes can grow anywhere. And if you doubt me, loosen up the soil in your backyard and pour tomatoes seed on it. Then watch it closely and see what happens after one week.
If you are interested in starting your own tomatoes farming business, or you want to grow the vegetable for your own consumption, seeing as it is now a scarce and expensive commodity in Lagos; Here is an easy guide on how to do it.
Steps On How To Start A Tomato Growing Business In Lagos
1. Select the best species.
To start this business, it is important to select the best species of tomato to plant. The Roma or Italian tomato specie is known as the best specie in the country because of its large size, redness and plumpness. It also has a hard back and low water content which in turn increases it’s content.
2. Check your land/soil.
Tomatoes do best in black loamy soil with lots of humus and a neutral Ph just under 7. This helps reduce pests and disease problems. In addition, the humus holds water like a sponge and reduces water stress, which can cause cracking of the tender tomato skins.
It’s a good idea to test the soil before planting. If your land is not loose enough, you’ll need to irrigate it. You can simply hire someone to irrigate the land for you.
3. Acquire and plant your tomato
You can get the seedling in any of the ministries of agriculture closer to you and you’ll get the expert support there. The tomato seed usually comes in a sealed sachet with all the instruction on it.
4. Start planting.
Plant your seeds in a nursery for 6-8 weeks before you transplant to the garden. This is so that the plants can have a good start away from birds and insects. This is called Protective breeding.
While planting, leave spaces between the tomatoes for air to freely circulate. Make sure you plant healthy seeds, the healthier the seeds, the more tomatoes you’ll harvest.
Plant your tomato at intervals to ensure that all of your harvest do not come at once.
5. Monitor your tomato plant growth.
Water deeply on the soil (not the leaves) every 5-7 days. to reduce water stress. Remove non-fruit branches, as this will ensure good air circulation and encourage the growth of fruit rather than leaves.
Add organic fertilizer as needed and weed regularly so that your tomato plants will get the soil nutrients and not the weeds!
You can stop watering your plant in the fourth or fifth week, this can increase the sugar content and improve flavor.
6. Control your production
One major problem having an open tomato farm is it can be affected by the weather. Building a greenhouse is a good way to control your production.
In a greenhouse, the plants are out of the rain and the temperature won’t drop so low at night.
The greenhouse also shades tomatoes from direct sunlight and at the same time, provides the warmth that enables the plant to feed regularly.
7. Harvest your tomatoes.
Your tomatoes are almost ready to harvest when their natural color, whether it is red, yellow, pink or purple, is fully developed.
8. Start selling your Tomatoes.
It is best to start selling your tomato from the day you started harvesting, seeing as they are perishables. Pick your customers, such as restaurant chefs, the local grocery stores or a local market. Culled tomatoes can also be used to make salsa or sauces, or sold at a discount to customers who want to do their own sauce making.
With these eight easy steps, you can start a successful and profitable tomato growing business. Good luck!