Tomato is an important commercial vegetable crop in India. Being a rich source of Vitamin A, C, potassium, and minerals, tomatoes remain in high demand throughout the year. It is consumed raw or for cooking in various recipes, or even used for sauces, jams, soups, juices, etc. Growing tomatoes can thus be a good source of income and even ensure high profits. If you’re looking to set up a tomato farming business, this article will guide you on how to get started and also help you evaluate the pros and cons of tomato farming. 

 


How to get started with tomato farming –

In order to set up a tomato farming business, you need to ensure the ideal weather, soil, and water conditions. Once you have identified the favorable conditions, you must prepare the land and then start seeding and sowing. It takes 5-12 days for seed germination, and the leaves appear 2-3 days after germination. The entire process takes 6-8 weeks. You must also keep in mind the season of growing tomatoes for better results. We will discuss each point in detail below-

 

Climatic conditions

A warm but cool climate with some sunlight is considered ideal for growing tomatoes. Tomatoes grow best in the temperature range of 10-25°C as they are sensitive to adverse climatic conditions whether frost or humidity. For high-quality yields, farmers must ensure diverse climatic conditions during each stage of its growth- germination, flowering, and fruiting. 

 

Soil requirements

Tomatoes grow well on almost all types of soils – light sandy to heavy clayey. But the ideal choice would be well-drained sandy soil with a depth of 15-20 cm. high organic content. In contrast to most crops, tomatoes do not require high organic content in the soil. This is because soil with high organic content has naturally high moisture, which tomatoes cannot withstand. But farmers can add organic matter to mineral-rich soil to increase the yield. Although tomatoes can tolerate moderate acidic and saline soils, it is important to check the pH value of the soil before growing tomatoes. You can maintain a range of 7-8,5 to ensure good growth. 

 


Water requirement

Tomatoes cannot tolerate both- excess water and scarcity of water. Most farmers growing tomatoes face the challenge of ensuring an even moisture supply. During the hot months of summer, one must irrigate the crop once a week. Drought season must also be monitored as it can affect the crop produce. Drought followed by heavy watering would also result in cracked tomatoes.  

 

Land preparation

Tomato farming requires well-leveled soil. Plough the land 4-5 times to ensure deep tillage and leveling. At the time of the last plowing, add manure or organic fertilizers for better yields. Land must be properly sterilized through soil solarization to destroy disease-causing pests and microbes.  

 

The season for tomato plantation 

Tomatoes can be grown during any season. But transplantation varies according to the region.

In southern parts, tomatoes are transplanted in three cycles- December to January, June to July, or September to October. In the northern region, transIn the northern region, transplantation occurs during July (Kharif crop cycle), October to November (Rabi crop cycle), and February (Zaid season).

 

Pros of tomato cultivation –

 

  1. The major advantage of growing tomatoes is that they can grow in a short time period. Hence, they ensure lesser time spent and higher profits generated for farmers. 
  2. Tomatoes are highly adaptable in the sense that they can be grown indoors as well as outdoors. 
  3. If you follow the soil and water requirements well, the yields are generally higher and can ensure good financial returns. 
  4. Tomatoes are known for their vitamins and their antioxidant properties, making them always in high demand.  
  5. India is one of the major exporters of tomatoes. Hence, there is a huge potential for farmers to increase their profits by exporting to other countries. 

 

Cons of tomato cultivation –

 

  1. Being highly perishable, vegetables like tomatoes have high crop wastage. It is important to consume or preserve tomatoes within a short period of time. And farmers do not have cold storage infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why farmers have to indulge in distress sales, losing out on higher margins. 
  2. In certain areas, surplus production is a challenge. When the supply is higher, farmers are forced to sell at lower prices. This affects the profit margins for farmers. This is also because there is no minimum selling price set by the government. 
  3. Loss of crops due to heavy rainfalls is another factor. When there is a lot of rain after a long period of drought, the tomato fruits tend to crack or split. 
  4. A major threat to tomatoes is the different viruses, which affect the yields significantly. Whiteflies and thrips tabaci are the most common tomato viruses, which if not managed on time, can cause major economic losses. 

 


So if you are planning to start the tomato farming business, you now have a fair idea of the advantages and challenges of growing this crop. It is extremely profitable in India to set up a tomato farming business. You just need to keep the growing conditions in mind for the best results. You can connect with other tomato farmers across the country here.

 

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