Tomato is a high yielding crop if good agronomic practices are implemented. In Nigeria, most tomato farmers get a low yield because of their poor agricultural practices.
The average tomato yield per acre in Nigeria is 2 tons while in some countries, a yield of 30 tons per acre can be achieved.
Strategies to Use to Increase Tomato Yield
The following are some of the tactics to use to increase tomato yield:
Training: If you want to run and manage your tomato farm yourself, you should invest in training in precision tomato farming. Never do tomato farming like how the “uninitiated’ farmers do it. If you do, you are likely to make little or no money. You should get trained on how to implement good agronomic practices.
Financing: Tomato farming is not cheap. One of the reasons people fail in tomato farming is inadequate capital. When your capital is lean, you tend to cut corners; this will lead to low yield and poor harvests. You need to have adequate capital to get all the inputs needed for your tomato farm.
Farmland: Having a good farmland is important in tomato farming. You should get good fertile land that is not prone to flood.
Soil and Water Analysis: Let me reiterate this; do not invest in tomato farming without doing an analysis of your soil and water. I have seen a lot of farmers who lost several millions of naira because they did not do a simple soil test. Your soil test result is a good guide to know what to add to your soil to get a good yield.
Human Capital: Your farm workers can make or mar your tomato farming investment. You should strive to engage good and highly skilled workers to assist you to run your tomato farm. Labourers are usually hired from the northern part of Nigeria, Togo and Benin Republic.
Soil Preparation: Well cured manure, biologics, fertilisers, nematicides and humates should be added to the soil during soil preparation. Ploughing, harrowing and ridging should be done before transplanting the tomato seedlings.
Use drip irrigation: I have seen farmers that increased their yields by as much as 200% because they used drip irrigation and fertigation tool. Drip irrigation will make you grow your tomato all year round and also improve your yield.
Fertilisers, pesticides and other inputs: Tomato seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and other inputs should be bought from reputable dealers in Nigeria. A lot of fertilisers and pesticides sold in Nigeria are sub-standard, even those sold by some big brands. Be very careful please.
Crop Management: There should be daily crop monitoring, your staff should walk around the farm and scout for pests and diseases. You should apply your pesticides as advised by your agronomist. Never skip any scheduled application of fertilisers and pesticides.
Harvesting: Your tomato fruits should be harvested promptly so that the plants can produce new fruits. Poorly formed or diseased fruits should also be removed immediately when spotted.
You can get a good yield from your tomato farm if you follow the above guidelines.