Tomato Farming in Nigeria – Is it Really Profitable?

Tomato farming in Nigeria can be lucrative but that is only when you’ve the right information on how to go about it. To start and run a commercial tomato farming in Nigeria has been the dream of many. In fact, some have even ventured into it with little or nothing to show because they got it wrong from inception.

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So, if you’re considering going into tomato farming in Nigeria, then this post is for you. It is a comprehensive tomato farming guide to help you start on the right track. I interviewed a seasoned tomato farmer with many years of experience.

Therefore, all you’re about reading is tapping into the giant’s world. Yes, I refer my guest as a giant because he cultivates hectares of tomatoes and has been on it for the last 6 years.

Meet our Expert Tomato Farmer

Our guest today is Mallam Iliyasu Jimoh a retired military officer who retired into tomato farming, and has never regretted it. Currently, he farms about 4 hectares of tomatoes here in Dambatta local government area of Kano state.

According to him, his state of origin is kogi but he chose to locate his farm in Kano state because both the weather and soil highly favor tomato farming in Nigeria. Other states where tomato are farmed in commercial quantities are Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Bauchi  Gombe and  Taraba.

This doesn’t mean you can’t grow tomato in other states of Nigeria but it requires hybrid species of tomatoes to grow in some states of Nigeria, especially the south-south and eastern region.

How Lucrative is Tomato Farming in Nigeria    

Tomato farming in Nigeria is very profitable and rewarding if you get it right. It has a turnaround period of between 3 and 4 months. That means you can plant and harvest tomatoes 3 to 4 times in year, which means big money for you.

The market is readily available. In fact, the demand is over 400% high than the supply because the population of over 180,000,000 Nigerians directly or indirectly consume tomatoes.

Tomato can be eating in different ways, raw or cooked, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads and drinks. It can be processed into paste and canned for easy usage. On average, you can produce more than 37,500 pounds of red ripe tomato fruits on one acre and you need about 5000 tomato plants for such output.

Financially, I cannot be specific on how much you can make as return on investment because it all depends on the size of your farm. But I am too sure that at any point in time, if you start on the right track, you’ll be making over 200% ROI per harvest time.

In fact, here in the north, you can start with as low as N100, 000 and grow it to the scale you want it over time. The wonderful thing about tomato farming in Nigeria is that the market is always there.  Individuals and processing companies book for it before maturity.

What is The Best Specie of Tomato to Farm?

For now, the best tomato specie I can recommend to anybody considering going into tomato farming in Nigeria is Shanty F1. It’s a hybrid tomato that grows in almost all states of Nigeria. It has high resistance to most tomato pests and diseases.

In addition, it does not spoil easily even under high temperature .Also it can usually get to the south and eastern part of the country in perfect condition because it has shell life of 14 days.

Shanty F1 has high yielding potential than every other specie available for farmer today. Therefore, I strongly recommend it to all intending tomato farmers.

Editor’s View

For the benefit of general knowledge, I made a research on other species of tomatoes. I find out that there are up to 7 varieties you need to know, which are:

  • Beefsteak
  • Plum tomatoes
  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Campari
  • Tomberies
  • Heirloom

How to Start Tomato Farming in Nigeria

There are 4 major steps of starting a tomato farm in Nigeria. They are:

  • Acquiring or renting of land
  • Deciding on the variety to plant
  • Planting
  • Harvesting

Let’s look deep into each step mentioned above.

Acquiring or Renting of Land

Acquiring of land either by outright purchase or renting is the first step you need to make. With vast land here in the north, it is usually cheap and easy to acquire land. As at time of this interview, you can get a hectare of land on outright purchase between N450, 000 and N600, 000.

But if you’re to lease, then you can get a hectare of land at the cost of N30, 000 to N50, 000 per planting and harvesting period.

An alternative to buying or renting is going into mutual agreement with the owner of the land. Yes, you’ll offer them some percentage or portion of the farm, from which they will make some money.

Whichever way you choose to do it; it is very possible and easier than you can imagine. The reality is that the northerners are always open to genuine and honest business partnership.

Deciding on The Specie to Plant    

Every specie of tomato grows in a high temperate area, which is why the northern state is the best place for it. So, it is up to you to decide on specie to go for depending on what you intended achieving.

Some buyers or companies will always tell you the specie they want because some species are good for particular purposes. But my candid advice to everyone going into commercial tomato farming in Nigeria is to go for shanty F1. It is a hybrid specie with a lot of advantages over others.

Planting

To plant your tomato, you must first of all make a nursery for it. You’ve to make a well secured nursery where you’ll plant the tomatoes in white cellophane of transparent plastic cups. Between 5 and 10 days the tomatoes will start germinating. Then between 2 weeks and 6 weeks after germinating you can transfer it to the main farm land.

If you want to get the best out of your farm, you must observe a planting space of between 24-36 inches. Planting below this space with affect the air flow around plants and that may result in disease.

Post Planting

After planting you need to constantly monitor the growth and performance of the plants. This is essential because the performance will determine whether to apply fertilizer or not. You should start weeding and applying fertilizer if need be 2 months after transplanting.

Harvesting

Your farm or tomatoes will be ready for harvest 3 months or 4 months after planting. You harvest in batches. After harvest, you can plant new set of tomatoes or allow the old plants to continue producing until the die off usually during dry season.

Challenges of Tomato Farming in Nigeria

The major challenge of tomato farming in Nigeria is lack of adequate storing facilities. Raw tomatoes are highly perishable; therefore need to be sold off immediately after harvest.

Lack of market for people that lack the marketing knowledge. Therefore I strongly advice people considering going into tomato farming in Nigeria to source the market first before starting.

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Tomato Farming in Nigeria – Final Advice

My final advice to those considering going into tomato farming in Nigeria is to first of all start small. Try the terrain before investing much in it. It is a very profitable business as long as you are ready to work it out.

Start with improved or hybrid specie because they are resistance to pests and most tomato diseases. Also, they have high yielding potential thereby increasing return on investment.

Editor’s Version

If you want to invest in this business and you need a bankable business plan or one on one consultation, then contact me using the contact form above.

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