Kenya has serious tomato shortage .This problem creates a business opportunity for farmers in Kenya to venture in tomato farming. The tomato fruit is the most consumed fruit eaten by millions of Kenyans every day. It’s mostly all Kenyan dishes and remains a regular ingredient in many delicacies and dishes across the country and continent. Sadly, despite its demand in Kenya, Kenya does not produce enough tomatoes to satisfy its needs, thus creating a business gap that Mr Evanson Kirera whose farm is based in Nyeri is trying to close the gap. Kireri’s half acre farm is located in Nyeri, on your way to mukwer-ini from Othaya
Town road. He grows 800 Malkia tomato plants and says every plant produces an average of three kilograms and harvests twice a week. The current market price for one kilogram of tomato is sixty shillings. Mr Kirera stresses that, despite the good numbers, Tomato farming is not a walk in the park and that he faces numerous challenges every season. Some of the challenges are diseases like late blight, blossom end rot and tomato yellow leaf curl. He has partnered with local extension agricultural officers, who he closely consults to help him solve the challenges he has. Another challenge is the high cost of pesticides, skilled labor and access to water. He is planning to solve the water problem by digging a water pan worth KES 200,000. Other than Tomato farming Mr Kirera also farms dairy farming, cabbages, spinach, and poultry with plans of doing fish farming in the future. Mr Kirera believes farming is the easiest way to get out of poverty but must exercise patience.
It’s shocking, how is it that Africa is the biggest producer of Tomatoes and is also the biggest importer of tomatoes and its products? This means there is a lot of potential in the tomato business in Kenya and Africa at large, says Mr Kirera
“Last year Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote formally opened 20 million dollar tomato processing factory in Nigeria. It’s often said that if you want to know where real business opportunities are watch n follow where the rich are investing their money.” He continues
This article was written by Lordrick Githua Wangui, an agribusiness writer and blogger.