How to Start / Open A Tomato Farming (Greenhouse) Business in Kenya

Tomato Farming (Greenhouse) Business Plan (Kenya)



Introduction

Download Tomato Farming (Greenhouse) business plan - Kenya PDF➥

This guide refers to the common table tomato as grown and consumed in Kenya.

Value of Tomato Industry

The value of the tomato industry in Kenya is estimated to be between Kshs. 14 billion and Kshs. 20 billion per annum. Various authorities including the Ministry of Agriculture, Horticultural Development Authority, United States Aid For International Development (USAID) place their estimates within the range. Ballpark figures have been steadily grown since 1994.

The figure includes the value of tomatoes grown, consumed and marketed in Kenya and excludes the support industry for instance in terms of pesticides. The value estimate is largely derived from data available from major wholesale markets, tomato processing firms, and input companies.

As you shall see below in the value chain the amount is shared, albeit unequally, between the different players.

Demand for Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain Vitamin A, B and C and are also said to be rich in antioxidants. However the demand for tomatoes is not driven by health benefits rather by the need to spice up food; make food taste better. In Kenyan households, tomatoes rank above other common vegetables used to spice food such as onions. In urban areas the demand for tomatoes is more or less the same across all income levels.

Production and consumption has spiked since 1997. Consumption has been pushed up by the expansion of the urban population, a growing economy, incomes, and acquired demand for fine food.

On the other hand production has been driven by increased demand, technological advances such as drip irrigation and greenhouses, poor performance of traditional cash crops like coffee, availability of relevant information to grow professionally grow tomatoes and infrastructure which has opened up farming regions making access to markets easier.

Demand Trends in 2014

Although no hard figures are yet available conversations with retailers and wholesalers reveal in 2014 there has been an overall slight reduction in demand for tomato. This can be attributed to a number of factors. A consistently rising inflation rate being one. The inflation rate in June 2014 was 7.39%, July 7.67% and 8.36% in August. Inflation reduces the disposable income, affecting low income earners more, forcing them to cut on their spending.

Also since the beginning of 2014 the prices of tomatoes have been consistently rising. A kilogram of tomatoes has oscillated between Kshs.70 and Kshs. 100. This as compared to lows

of even Kshs. 20 per kilogram in August and September 2013. In 2014 a single grade tomato has ranged between Kshs.7 and Kshs.15. However from September the prices are stabilizing and gradually falling.

The increase in prices had been caused by reduced supply in the market as a result of destruction of hundred of hacters of the crop by the Tuta Absoluta pest which attacks the tomato fruit and stalk as it begins to ripen making the plant to wither. Not even tomatoes in greenhouses are immune from Tuta Absoluta. (More on the pest within the report).

Other factors that have contributed to the rise in prices have been adverse weather in tomato growing areas. If not extreme cold conditions then it has been heavy rainfall both of which do not favor tomato farming.

Numerous taxes by the county authorities have also been used as an excuse to increase prices to more than proportionate levels.

The pest originated from South America but is thought to have come into the country from Ethiopia before spreading to some of the major tomato farming areas such as Isiolo, Meru, Kirinyaga and Nakuru.

Tomato Substitutes

In the Kenyan market there are no proper substitutes to tomatoes. The closest are tomato pastes and spice mixes such as Royco. Tomato pastes are gradually being adapted by parts of the middle class but not to the level that has led to a notable decrease in the demand for tomatoes. There are consumers who say tomato pastes do not taste as authentic as fresh tomatoes.

Some of the leading pastes in the market are produced in China on contract by local firms, meaning that they are not using local raw materials. Imported tomato sauces too have made their way in the Kenyan market.

Threats to Tomato Demand

Inflation and high prices are the biggest threat to increased demand for tomatoes. Presently, in 2014, demand for tomatoes is being slowed down by an increasing inflation rate which will reduce income and consumption among the lower income groups (using one tomato instead of the usual two).

High tomato prices which as noted are currently tied to crop destruction by Tuta Absoluta, will also reduce consumption first among the low income groups and gradually among the lower of the middle class.

It’s important to note that though the demand for tomatoes has slightly reduced, farmers harvesting (2014 / 2015) will find a ready market for their products. This is because the market (September 2014) presently has a shortage. The market is still not able to satisfy, at the right price, those who have not changed their consumption. The shortage is bigger than the decrease in demand.

The significance of tomatoes in the Kenyan diet is captured by the fact that the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics often uses the price of tomatoes among the bag of goods considered when calculating the inflation rate. And the rising cost of tomatoes has been one of the key drivers of the surge in the inflation rate.

There are now more efforts by the government, pesticides companies and research organizations to curb and control the spread of Tuta Absoluta. Farmers too are becoming more innovative in the way they deal with the pest.

If these efforts are successful then the market will feel the effect in terms increased supply and significant reduction in prices within 4- 6 months ( November 2014 to April 2015) , considering the duration it takes tomatoes to mature. Since September t 2014 the tomato market has started easing up with prices slightly falling as supply increases.

Major attributes considered by retail consumers when purchasing tomatoes are:

øSize of tomatoes (large size preferred)

øColor of tomatoes ( semi ripe or ripe , but not be green,)

øShelf life (long shelf life preferred)

øTomato variety (some varieties have a longer shelf life than others)

øTomato appearance (consumers want healthy good looking tomatoes)

Some Market Realities

Although by and large tomato farming looks lucrative what with the high demand and billion shillings value , the reality is that growing tomatoes is a high risk venture and not always as smooth as it may look or as some have portrayed it. This is for a number of reasons:

One, because of diseases and pests. Some of which are resistant to pesticides.

Two because of unpredictable weather conditions, e.g. too much rain, extremely low or high temperatures and the like.

Three tomatoes are highly perishable products, and thus have to get to the market within a reasonable time otherwise they get spoilt. Thus if on harvest prices are depressed, a farmer without cold storage facilities can’t store the produce for sale in the future when prices are favorable.

Fourth and most important prices are volatile. There is no pool of information good enough to help correctly predict price trends. For instance a farmer using the previous year’s trend can say “In January tomato prices are usually great at over Kshs. per 2500 per crate”

But then there could be more farmers like him all aiming for January and come the start of the year the market is flooded with tomatoes and prices are depressed.

On the other hand due to weather or disease crops could be destroyed and prices shoot through the roof resulting in abnormal profits.

You can predict but you can never be sure. And there is no great data which you can use to make more factual analysis.

A Note on Timing

Knowing when to plant your tomatoes so that you harvest and sell when the prices are good has always been a challenge among tomato farmers. Like we have noted there is not the kind of information that can help a farmer accurately determine the appropriate time to plant so as to get the best prices at the minimal production cost.

Traditionally the best prices for tomatoes have always been in the dry seasons – January / February and the cold season when many open field farmers have difficulties protecting their crop from the effects of the weather. Yet you could find many people have ‘timed’ the season and thus there is an oversupply depressing the prices.

Greenhouses partially cushion against this because you are able to harvest over a long duration, say 5 to 8 months and thus enjoy different price levels.

In 2014 timing is no longer a problem, thanks to a shortage of tomatoes caused by Tuta Absoluta, the pest that has destroyed large amounts of tomato crop. It’s safe to predict that anyone who plants tomatoes between August 2014 and March 2015, and they are able to overcome the killer pest and other diseases then they are guaranteed to get an above average prices ( above Kshs. 45 per kilogram ) . How long the high price trend continues will depend on whether efforts to control Tuta Absoluta are successful.

Diseases & Pests

In a way tomatoes are fragile creatures susceptible to a number of diseases and pests which can destroy the whole crop within a short while. Even before the coming of Tuta Absoluta to Kenya diseases and pests have killed the dreams of many farmers. Sometimes not even pesticides are of help.

As a tomato farmer you should be real to this, and be extra keen in monitoring your crops and consulting professionals in case of anything you are not sure of. (See diseases and Pests for more. We also recommend a professional you can consult)

Is Tomato Farming A Feasible Venture?

Yes it is. But be real to the possibility of losses just as you dream of the high profits. Since 2012 farm agate prices have fluctuated between lows of Kshs. Kshs.15 per kilogram to highs of Kshs. 110 per kilogram. Proper crop management, a realistic understanding of market trends, consistency in farming and a dose of luck are the ingredients of success in tomato farming.

Market Value Chain

Farmer – Colleting Broker – Market Broker – Wholesaler Distributor – Retailer – Consumer

Farmer – Collecting Broker – Supermarket / Hotel/ Processor Farmer – Hotel / Supermarket / Processor

Farmer – Market

A majority of farmers (about 85% by our estimates) sell their tomatoes at the farm gate to collecting brokers. These are brokers who move from farm to farm purchasing tomatoes for onward transport to major markets.

The reasons that make farmers sell at the farm gate rather than directly at the markets where they would command higher prices are several:

Lack of Cold Storage Facilities - Very few, if any, tomato farmers have cold storage facilities. They fear holding the crop for long will lead to wastage hence sell their produce almost immediately after harvest.

Lack of Transport Facilities - Many farmers lack transport facilities to get their products to the market. If a farmer has harvested 20 crates he will need a pick up to get the product to the market. If he doesn’t own one then he has to hire. He may reason rather than hire and incur additional expenses why not just sell to the broker who comes calling.

Insufficient Information of How the Markets Work- Most farmers understand the market very well. For instance a farmer in Kirinyaga is more likely to be unsure which particular market in Nairobi to deliver his products to, what are the logistics, how does he deal with the county government, who are gatekeepers and so forth. To avoid all that push and pull he opts to sell to a broker who collects the tomatoes from the farm.

The price at which a farmer agrees to sell his produce is negotiated between him and the broker.

Market Operations

Collecting Broker

The standard unit of measurement for harvested is a wooden 64 kilogram crate. The broker sorts out the tomatoes grading them according to quality: size, bruises, worms and general aesthetics.

The grades could be 1 to 3 or even 5. He will offer different prices for each, with grade 1 fetching the highest. Depending on the supply dynamics at the time he could purchase the lower grades. But if there is a glut then he will only pick grade 1 and 2 and leave the farmer to sell the lower grades within his locality.

When the collecting broker has enough produce to reach a break even point say a full pick up or canter he transports the tomatoes to the market.

Market Brokers and Wholesalers

At the market the collecting broker meets the market brokers, who in reality are the market gatekeepers and the people who determine the prices. These are the brokers proper. They don’t hold any stock so they rarely use their own money in the business. As much its business there is an element of gangsterism in it.

The market brokers come in between the collecting broker and the wholesalers. For instance say a new collecting broker from Mwea drives to Wakulima market with a pick up full of tomatoes, he will not sell directly to the wholesalers, rather a market broker will approach him , book’ the consignment and after looking at the quality say “ You are going to get Kshs.1000 for each crate.” The collecting broker could negotiate a little.

Once the collecting broker and market broker settle on the price they wait for the wholesalers to come. The market broker does not pay the collecting broker until he makes a sale. He will have set his own price, say Kshs. 1300 which will be a price within a range agreed upon by all the market’s tomato brokers. So for each crate he sells the market broker gets Kshs. 300 and the collecting broker gets Kshs.1000. So say the collecting broker had bought the tomatoes at Kshs. 600 from the farmer, and then his gross profit will be Kshs. 400 per crate.

So why can’t the collecting broker sell the tomatoes directly to the wholesalers and say make Ksh. 700 per crate? That’s where an element of thuggery sets in. The market brokers will frustrate him by all means sometimes including threats of violence.

And how does the collecting broker know that the price at which he is purchasing at from the farmers will leave him with profits? He doesn’t know exactly but he reads the market, he communicates with market brokers cushion himself by offering the farmer the lowest price possible. Since there are many collecting brokers competing for the same produce from farmers then the prices will be within the market ranges.

In reality prices change everyday, however slightly, this is because market brokers determine prices in the morning depending on the product at hand, sometimes political and economic

happenings such as reading the budget, terrorist attacks and other such factors that they think will affect demand or which they use as an excuse to make a kill.

The market for tomatoes is not perfect. Prices are not always determined by the laws of supply and demand. The farmer is at a disadvantage since more often than not he is in the dark regarding what is happening in the main market.

Sometimes farmers are not aware of the market conditions for instance what variety is in demand or supply dynamics. So he might plant the wrong variety or at the ‘wrong’ time.

Since wholesalers are dealing directly with retailers they purchase quantities and qualities as demanded by consumers. They have a very clear understanding of the conusmer needs at any one time.

Tomato brokers and collecting wholesalers consider the following when purchasing or grading tomatoes:

Size of tomatoes (large size preferred); need to be uniform in the box

One variety per box (not mixed varieties)

Color of tomatoes (not green)

Not sprayed with ripener chemical

Size of box (40kg-box and 64kg-box)

Firmness of tomato (Hard skin)

Package used (wooden box preferred)

Price per box

Market demand

Source of tomatoes

Once the wholesaler purchases he sells to retailers who then sell to consumers. By the time the tomato reaches the consumer the farm gate price could have increased by between 30 % and 100%.

There could be slight variations to this farmer to consumer chain depending on the market, region and the brokers, but this is the general template. For example there are areas where farmers join together, find a means of transport and cut out the collecting brokers.

Also there are farmers who sell directly to consumers, retailers and wholesalers.

The smaller the market, the fewer the gatekeepers. This means it’s possible to sell directly retailers, cutting out a number of brokers. To illustrate Kitengela and Machakos areas a farmer can directly approach traders in the local market and sell to them directly.

In areas with high number of tomato farmers there could be mini wholesale markets. For instance Kagio market in Kirinyaga which is one of the largest tomato markets in Kenya. Small

time brokers purchase from the farmers in the field and take to the market from where brokers supplying other towns, supermarkets, hotels and processors.

Supermarkets and Hotels

The number of supermarkets, restaurants and rated hotels has been increasing since the birth of the county governments. These institutions purchase a significant quantity of tomatoes. One estimate put at 30% the amount of fresh produce for the local market that is sold through supermarkets.

Many modern farmers, especially those growing tomatoes in greenhouses, get into farming with supermarkets as their main target markets. Whereas it might be relatively easy to supply the smaller mini supermarkets, for the larger supermarkets it’s not always a walk in the park.

Supermarkets and hotels also want consistent quality and guaranteed reliable supply throughout the year no matter the prevailing weather or market conditions.

To achieve this on their own the institutions would have to spend much time and resources out their in the fields or markets.

Because of the above reasons the supermarkets and hotels prefer to sub contract a single or just a few companies and individual farmers to supply them with fresh produce. The contractors

,acting like wholesalers, go out in the field or markets looking for products that meet the supermarket’s standards. For instance Nakumatt supermarkets has an independent subsidiary responsible for supplying it with fruits and vegetables.

Uchumi works with both farmers and brokers when sourcing fresh produce. By their own estimates 50% of the produce is sourced directly from the growers. Of these – 25% are medium farmers, 15% commercial farmers, 10% small farmers. 45% of produce is from brokers. Bigger farmers are considered more reliable as compared to smaller farmers.

There is no harm in approaching institutions but don’t expect automatic acceptance. For the

bigger supermarkets ask for the fresh produce or supplies manager. Go with samples and give an image of reliability. (See attached supermarket shelf space guide).

The market for tomatoes will be there, the challenge will be getting the best possible prices at a particular time.

Processors and Processing

Tomatoes can be processed into powder, pulp, paste, jam , sauces and ketchup .

Tomato powder is used commercially in food processing industries as an ingredient in soup mixes, baby foods, nutritional flours, seasoning and to make spices. It can also be used as s substitute to fresh tomatoes.

Tomato pulp and pastes can be used as substitutes to fresh tomatoes. Pulp is used to make sauces which are used to flavor ready to eat meals. In Kenya processing of tomatoes to sauces is the most common form of value addition for tomatoes. Some of the leading sauce makers import tomato pulp from China and other Asian countries which they use to make sauces for sale in the local market. The reasons cited for importing are quality and price.

The Kenyan tomato market is quite fragmented. Over 90% of farmers surveyed said they farm without considering whether they are targeting household consumers or processors. They are interested in profits, they just want to get their produce to the market and make money. Thus the varieties of tomato they choose to plant are more based on possible returns. They ask does a variety require a lot of pesticides? How fast does it mature? Do the brokers like it?

Thus depending on the trend at a particular time the market could be flooded with a little of everything; tomatoes appropriate for processing and a little of those suitable for household consumption. Sometimes there could be 80% of either processing or household consumption varieties. These inconsistencies make some processors not to rely on the local market or compliment what they are getting locally with pulp imports.

Often farmers who have planted tomato varieties suitable for processing are not aware that the variety growing on their land is more suitable for processing rather than household consumption. Hence they might not take appropriate care in terms of use of pesticides, ripening and such factors which influence the quality of a processed tomato product.

Kevian Kenya limited (the makers of Afia juices) joined the tomato sauces and soup market in July 2014. The company has partnered with 4000 farmers groups who will supply it with tomatoes and carrots. Initial figures released by the company’s chairman in August 2014 showed the company was processing an average of 200 tones of tomatoes everyday.

Processors partner with farmers groups because then it becomes much easier to maintain standards, have a consistent supply and stable prices. To the farmers a contractual agreement with a processor guarantees them of a market and predictable prices. Sometimes a processor can support the farmer through loans to purchase inputs.

Still if the contractual prices are lower than the market prices the farmers will be ‘losing’ . On the other hand if the contractural prices are above the market prices farmers will be ‘gaining’.

Often when the open market prices are higher than the contractual prices farmers are tempted to sell tomatoes to the open market instead of delivering to the processor.

This discourages processors from getting into contractual agreements with farmers, especially low capitalized small scale farmers. When a farmer does not deliver agreed amounts it disrupts the processor’s production plans.

The comparatively lower prices of imported tomato pulp makes many processors offer less than competitive prices to contract farmers. After all, they reason, if it’s cheaper to import the main ingredient for making tomato sauce why pay farmers more.

The relatively low processor prices discourage small farmers from getting into such production and supply agreements. Sometimes the prices offered by processors are not high enough to

help farmers break even. In addition tomatoes grown for processing could require special care, which can increase production costs and discourage farmers even more.

There are a few farms in the Rift Valley which are growing tomatoes specifically for processing. There are also some smaller firms which make the pulp and powder and sell to the bigger processing companies who make sauces and other products.

Its also instructive to note that a number of counties are planning to establish tomato processing plants. These include Nakuru, Kirinyaga, Bungoma and Garissa. The plans are to add value to tomatoes by making pulps, pastes and sauces.

Courtesy of CTA we have included the general procedures for making tomatoes powder, pulp and sauces. The tomato processing industry is subject of another guide the status of the process tomato product market and commercial production is the subject of another guide.

You can get a tomato paste and maker from the Kenya Industrial Agricultural Development Institute. ( KIRDI - See below for contacts) . In September 2014 they were sellingit at Kshs. 450,000. The electrical powered machine is about 1.5 meters by 2 meters and can also be used to even make pulps from other fruirts like mangoes.

Once you make the pulp you can sell to other processing companies or go ahead to make and pack tomato sauce. Before you start pulp production make sure you have identifiedyour market and gotten into an agreement with a buyer.

KIRDI has an incubation plan and processing facilities which they hire out at relatively small fee. If you wish to get into processing you can start by paying them a visit

Some Major Tomato Processing Companies

Kevian Kenya Limited – 0722 398802

Trufoods - Zesta – 020 238 5880

Centrofood Limited – Ken Tomato Sauce

Njoro Canning limited – Kol, Golden valley brands

Premier foods – Peptang Tomato Sauce -020 856 2607

Triclover Industries – Clover Tomato Sauces – The company leads in sales of tomato sauces in sachets common in fast food restaurants. 722 206 598

Tiger Brands – All Gold sauces

Razco Limited- Lyons sauces. Lyons is best known for ice creams.

Chilli Pilipili company ltd (www.chillipilipili.com) – This company packages and sell kachumbari and chutneys. Often they use fresh tomatoes as opposed to pastes.

Other Processors

Kiburi Food Processors flours and powders. Biashara Street, New Kiburi House Ruiru Njoki Wainaina - 0733 605308 [email protected]

Pan African Vegatables - Naivasha

Kabazi Tomato - Subukia

Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute ( KIRDI)

Popo Road off Mombasa Road South C

020 6003842 / 6009440

[email protected]

Production of Tomatoes

Until 2009 or so production of tomatoes in Kenya used to happen almost 100% in open fields. That changed with the adoption of greenhouses by a section outside the traditional farming groups; college educated and working classes with relatively higher income.

This group of new farmers to be was seeking a much modern approach to small scale farming. Amiran, the pioneer greenhouse company played a big role in this by making greenhouses mass and accessible to the everyday farmer as opposed to the trend before where greenhouses were the preserve of big corporate farmers.

Greenhouse farming of tomatoes has advantages over open field farming in terms of longer production period, reduction in pests and diseases risk and better management of resources. On the other hand there without proper management greenhouse farming could lead to losses .

Notwithsatnding much of tomato production in the country happens in the open fields. This is because greenhouse farming despite its advantages is a relatively capital intensive venture. The Kshs. 200,000 average that is required to set up and farm on a standard 8 meters by 15 meters greenhouse is still out of reach for many small farmers.

Greenhouse Farming

There has been and still exist a lot of hype around greenhouse farming which could give a prospective farmer the impression that it’s an easy ride guaranteed of success. That greenhouse farmers are immune to all the challenges open field farmers face. That greenhouse farming will always be profitable.

The truth is that greenhouse farming is a challenging venture as any. The greenhouse does not give you a 100 % immunity against diseases, pests, nematodes , bacterial wilt and others. Just like open field farmers you have to use fertilizer and spray your crops.

The greenhouse reduces the risk of diseases and pests, creates conditions for a longer production period thus cushioning against price fluctuations and improves the chances of success when compared to open field farming. However without proper management of the greenhouse and the tomatoes it’s very possible to suffer major losses.

Advantages of Greenhouse Farming Over Open Field Farming

Higher yields

Longer production period – Tomatoes can be harvested for 6 to 8 months

Shorter maturation period – On average tomato varieties grown in greenhouses mature within 60

70 days as compared to 75 to 90 for outdoor varieties.

Reduced risk of pests and diseases.

Better management of resources for example through drip irrigation

Better use of land – Using greenhouse technology a small piece of land can be leveraged in such a way that several crops are grown, and profitably so.

Important considerations before you start growing tomatoes:

Soil

Consider the suitability of your soil to tomatoes. Even in greenhouse conditions tomatoes will perform best in appropriate soils. Although tomatoes grow in a variety of soils, uniform clay and light loam soils are the most suitable. The soils should also be well drained and with a pH of 5 – 7.5.

You can always take a sample of soil from your land for testing to know its true characteristics. You may never find ideal soil but testing helps prevent you from planting in soils very off the mark and if so to take the right mitigating measures to correct or manage the situation.

Testing also helps identify possibilities of bacteria wilt and other diseases. Bacteria wilt is notorious for ‘killing’ tomatoes just when they are headed to maturity. You sleep one night day dreaming of crisp notes and you wake the next day to realize previously healthy and erect plants are now weak and dying. Not even a visit to the agro vet saves you since there is no proper chemical solution. Within a week you dreams turn to nightmares.

Testing your soil will help you manage such eventualities. Soil testing will also help in your choice of fertilizers and seeds. Soil testing is not a must but it’s highly recommended.

Now if your soil is way off the mark, then you should not give up. Innovative farmers plant tomatoes in polythene papers. They ‘import’ the right soil, put in the papers and plant their tomatoes. With the right care such tomatoes grow to maturity and are as productive as those planted in the ground.

Also as a rule of the thumb is don’t plant tomatoes where pepper, potato, previous crop of tomato and other crops of the solanaceous family had been planted the last season. At least

have a three season break. These crops share diseases and rotation helps avoid contamination.

Look for land where there is good air circulation. This helps reduce risk of foliar disease.

Kenya Agricultural Research Institute does Soil Testing for between Kshs. 500 and Kshs.2000. (See appendix for contacts and other companies doing soil testing)

Water

You need a reliable source of water. This could be metered water, from a well or that from the river, whatever the source have a convenient and reliable source of water. River water could increase the chances of disease and pests but then if it’s that’s the only available source use it but take preventive measures to reduce chances of diseases. There are many farmers using it successfully. Then be conscious of excess sodium and fluoride levels in the water you are using since high levels could stunt your crops.

On average a tomato plant will consumer 5 liters of water per week.

Most greenhouses use drip irrigation. Drip irrigation allows water to slowly drip to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone through a network of valves, pipes, tubing and emitters. It is done through narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant.

Drip irrigation is estimated to save between 30% and 50% of water costs when compared to direct watering. Also with drip irrigation soluble fertilizers can be distributed to each crop through the drip, disease is lower because the leaves are not directly watered, and the drip makes for uniformity of growth.

Fluctuations in moisture or what is technically called moisture stress affects tomatoes negatively in a number of ways:

-Moisture stress during flowering can cause blossoms to abort without setting fruit

-Fluctuations in moisture or moisture stress during fruit development affects calcium uptake by roots, resulting in a high incidence of blossom end rot.

-Extreme fluctuations in moisture during fruit growth also increase problems with cracking as the inner layers of the fruit expand more rapidly than the surface causing the skin to open in radial or concentric cracks

-Watering too heavily or heavy rain after a long dry spell results in cracking. Prolonged foliar wetting periods and splashing of water from the soil to the foliage and fruit encourage diseases such as early and late blight and anthracnose.

-Some growers choose to water stress plants slightly during fruit development in order to enhance fruit flavor. Providing 60%–80% of the normal water requirement during fruiting can intensify flavor. Managing water in this way is a useful tool for specialty markets, such as some tomatoes grown for processing

Market

How easy is it to access your market from your farm? If you are in a remote area where brokers don’t reach, the population is scattered and the nearest market is more than a few kilometers away then think of transport or whatever means of getting your produce to buyers.

Although there are tomato varieties that can comfortably last for a few days without going bad, it’s only a few days. Then tomatoes don’t ripen 100% uniform so at any one time there will those that need to get to the market or else they drop dead and turn to manure. So make sure either buyers can easily access your farm or you can easily deliver your produce to the market. Of course keeping in mind the cost of doing so that you are breaking even.

Capital

Think of capital not just in terms of the amount you use to set up your greenhouse but also in the money you will need to sustain the tomatoes until they start giving you profits. Remember this is farming. There is always the threat of pests and diseases. If you estimate that it will cost Kshs. 5000 as running capital, set aside double the amount.

Within the 3 months to maturity a lot could change. Water could be disconnected and you have to purchase 5 kilometers away. If you are pumping water from a river the price of fuel could go up or someone upstream decides to ‘personalize’ the river and use all the water, leaving you dry.

And the prices of pesticides and fertilizers could go up with the excuse of inflation, a weak shilling or a careless statement from the chairman of the parliamentary agricultural committee. Tomato pests and diseases feast ferociously. When your crop is attacked spend a few days moving up and down looking for cash to purchase pesticides and you will come back to a brown house; all crops dead and dry.

As noted above tomato prices are volatile. You could do everything right but suffer losses in the first months due to market factors beyond your control. So if you were planning to plough back the money from the first few sales to meet your farm expenses you might be stuck. Have some cash set aside or links to facilities that could give you access to quick cash.

Also when setting up don’t bite more than you can chew. Pick the size of greenhouse you can manage in terms of capital and maintenance. Greenhouses are sold in different sizes as you shall see below.

Equipment

Greenhouse

The purpose of a Greenhouse as noted above is to create the best possible environment for the growth of a crop. This is in terms of temperatures , humidity and light. It’s the optimal management of these conditions that leads to reduction in diseases and pests and also higher and prolonged production. A greenhouse also helps a farmers overcome any adverse weather conditions within an area.

A complete greenhouse set up consists of several parts: Polythene covers, Drip pipes, Shade nets, Insect nets, Way trough, dam liner and more.

For the above reasosn it’s then important to go for a professional greenhouse supplier. With the increased demand and the hype surrounding greenhouses, some people even without professional and technical skills have seized the opportunity and got into the business of erecting greenhouses.

There is also a lot of exaggerated information about expected returns and break even point. Take it with a pinch of salt. Look at greenhouse farming more as a long term project where you get a return on investment after 3 or so seasons.

When purchasing a greenhouse consider the following factors:

Skill of the greenhouse supplier

Purchase a greenhouse from a seller who has more than a causal understanding of greenhouses and farming. At the face of it setting up a greenhouse is a manual low skill undertaking. But the reality is that a more than casual skill is required to set up and manage a greenhouse. These skills could have been acquired by formal training, experience or self taught through material available on the internet, government and private institutions.

Whatever the source make sure your supplier is skilled enough and thus able to offer the necessary information depending on what you want to grow, your location, size of your land and location.

A professional greenhouse dealer should consider the conditions in the area when constructing. These include the sun intensity – so as to solar treat the paper, the wind so as to build stronger frames and such. He should also consider the source of water, what you plant and your budget even as he lays the drip system.

Where possible ask for case studies of greenhouse projects they have successfully implemented.

Cost of the greenhouse

Price differences for the same size of greenhouse could be as high as Kshs.50, 000. Consider the cost in terms of the whole greenhouse package. There are different packages as offered by various sellers. These could be a whole package which includes the greenhouse structure, drip lines, water tank, seeds, fertilizer and even pesticides relevant to what you are growing. The price could also include the cost of setting up.

However there are suppliers who will quote the price of the structure alone and extra for the starter items like drip lines and tanks. Others will charge you for setting up. You can shop around to get the best offer. Also if it saves you money you can buy different items from various suppliers then combine to make your greenhouse. For instance greenhouse structure from A, drip lines from B, Tank from C. Before you do this make sure at least you have some technical skill or someone to offer support as you set up.

Support

As a new farmer you will most likely encounter some challenges when starting. These could be problems with the structure, drip lines or even crops. As much as possible try get a supplier who offers some after sales support.

This kind of support does not mean that the supplier has to come to your farm always but they could make themselves available for instance through a telephone call. Alternatively you could look for suppliers who offer training in greenhouse management at no extra cost.

Some of the greenhouse suppliers commit themselves to make monthly or fortnightly visits at a small fee. Just make sure you have a proper support system even after purchase.

Structure

Like mentioned make sure you ask to see samples or actual greenhouses which have been constructed by the supplier. Be keen on the size, width, length and height. The height of the greenhouse on the sides is especially important since it will determine which crops you plant. For instance if the sides are short it means you cant plant tomatoes which grow to heights of up to 6 feet. You also need the freedom and specie to work comfortably in the greenhouse.

Greenhouses can have wooden frames or metallic frames. Wooden frames are less expensive especially if you can source the poles cheaply. When treated to prevent attack by termites they can last for up to 5 years.

Metallic greenhouses can last for over 10 years. Although you may need to change the polythene paper.

A note on Greenhouse Suppliers

Competition among greenhouse supplies has kept the prices stable since 2012 . Greenhouse dealers also now tend to portray a professional image even when some are not.

Most greenhouse dealers offer a package which includes the structure, drip system, crop handbooks. Others offer seeds and inputs as part of their package. Others will promise to help you get market for your products. Again take that with a pinch of salt. Theirs will be more like an

advisory role “Just take them to the supermarket”. They won’t actually take the products to the market and make sure it’s bought. Others disappear after setting up.

Although we include a list of greenhouse dealers, it’s not exhaustive and is not necessarily vouching for any of the companies. We have heard both positive and negative experiences from all. The market is now flooded with too many small independent greenhouse contractors, some who operate only within small regions. We insist before purchasing ask for demonstrations of previous work, and what kind of support they offer.

Also note though prices fall within the same range, there are price variations sometimes of up to Kshs. 40,000 between two dealers. Consider price also in terms of everything that the dealer is offering. For the independent contractors there is room for negotiating. The greenhouse market is at a point where price, low or high, is not an indicator of the quality of the product or service.

Prices:

Greenhouses are priced according to sizes. Below are the average prices and ranges:

8 meters by 15 meters

Kshs. 120,000 to Kshs. 180,000. This is the most commonly used by new and relatively small scale greenhouse farmers. Average price is Kshs. 150,000.

8 meters by 30 meters

Kshs. 200,000 to Kshs. 350,000

Price could fall anywhere within the ranges. As noted above consider the price in terms of the whole greenhouse package the supplier is offering.

Water Tank

A tank is part of the greenhouse set up. Whatever your water source make sure you have enough storage. If you are purchasing a greenhouse package a water tank could be included. If not then you will need to acquire one on your own. Price of water tank will depend on the size but ranges between Kshs. 10,000 to Kshs. 30,000.

Other Costs

Depending on the package and terms of the greenhouse supplier you might find yourself incurring some other costs during the set up.

These include casual laborers to assist in setting up, cement, sand and ballast. Others will require you to source the wooden planks or metallic frames that you will use to support the greenhouse and the seat for the water tank.

At least have an extra Kshs.15, 000 for such expense. Also when purchasing the greenhouse let the supplier clearly explain what his package includes and what is expected of you. This will help you budget and avoid disappointments

Cost Benefit Analysis of Drip Irrigated Greenhouse Tomatoes

Kindly note this is only a guideline. Costs, Returns and Production could vary depending on management, market, weather and other factors beyond control. To illustrate the price of Tomatoes in August 2014 ranges between Kshs. 70 and Kshs. 100 per kilogram. We have done the cost analysis using an average of Kshs.40. Price of labor could also be higher depending on the location and the worker. Inputs prices could also fluctuate. Also there could be other minor costs which we haven’t fully captured.

 

 

 

Year 1

Year 2

 

 

 

Area : 240m2 (

First 6 Months

 

Next 6 Months

First 6 Months

Next 6 Months

 

 

2 Greenhouses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of 8m by 15m)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output (kg)

7000

 

 

3000

7000

3000

 

 

 

Farm gate Price

40

 

 

40

40

40

 

 

 

average (

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kshs/kg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

280,000

 

 

120,000

280,000

120,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costs

 

 

 

 

 

Variable Costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Tillage

200

 

 

 

200

 

 

 

 

Secondary

200

 

 

 

200

 

 

 

 

Tillage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAP 10kg

700

 

 

 

700

 

 

 

 

NPK 17:17:17

2750

 

 

2750

2750

2750

 

 

 

5Okg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transplanting

1000

 

 

 

1000

 

 

 

 

Pesticides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field Pesticides

1500

 

 

1500

1500

1500

 

 

 

Fungicides

3000

 

 

3000

3000

3000

 

 

 

Manure 2 Tons

4000

 

 

 

4000

 

 

 

 

Caretaker @

30,000

 

 

30,000

30,000

30,000

 

 

 

5000p.m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1000 seedlings

3000

 

 

 

3000

 

 

 

 

@ Kshs.3 each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Costs

 

 

 

 

Greenhouse

210,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others –

10,000

 

 

5,000

10,000

5,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transport,

 

 

 

 

Casuals etc

 

 

 

 

Total Cost of

266, 350

42, 250

56, 350

42,250

Production

 

 

 

 

(Kshs.)

 

 

 

 

Profit (

13,650

77,750

223,650

77,750

Kshs/240 m2)

 

 

 

 

 

91,400

 

301,400

 

Production:

Tomato Varieties

Generally tomato varieties can be classified into determinate and indeterminate.

Determinate Varieties

Determinate tomato varieties are short growing to a height of between 2 and 4 feet. They have a lifespan of about 4 months. Also they stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal, ripen their crop at or near the same time (usually over 2 weeks period) then die.

They require minimum support and should not be pruned as it reduces their crop. Determinate varieties do not necessary require support. Examples in Kenya are Faulu, Cal J VF and Rio Grande from Kenyan seed

Indeterminate Varieties

Indeterminate varieties are also called vining tomatoes. They grow almost endlessly to heights of between 6 feet and 10 feet. They have a lifespan OF 6 to 9 months. They bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit throughout their lifespan. They can be harvested for 6 – 8 months. Due to their height they require a lot of support. You can prune so as to make them stronger though this is not mandatory. Indeterminate varieties are the preferred for greenhouses. For example Anna F1, Money maker

So which seeds to plant?

Indeterminate varieties, as mentioned above, are the best for greenhouses. With the greenhouse conditions and proper care you can harvest them for 6 to 8 months.

When choosing seeds experienced farmers consider a number of factors such as seed purity, disease tolerance, pest tolerance, yield, marketability, labor costs, harvesting period, drought tolerance, storability, fruit shape, fruit size, taste and color.

Below we look at some of the factors:

-The market – Its normal to finds that at a particular time, or in a particular area the market favors one brand to another. Also it depends on your target market, for instance supermarkets will consider the aesthetics of the tomato. How ‘pretty ‘it is. If you are selling to a processing company then the juice and matter content will be a factor.

Generally market preferences will be based on aesthetics, perishability, content, weight, what’s hot at the time, fragility - does the skin peel when handling. These keep changing with time as new tomato varieties and technologies come into the market. (For more help in this see note at the end of this section)

-Facts and Rumours on the ground - Farmers will always talk good and ill about different seed brands. Oh I bought this brand and it didn’t mature, Oh the crop was bad, oh this is so susceptible to disease... The accounts could be conflicting but in most cases there is some truth in the narrations. Often the rumors trickle down to the market and influence prices, how vendors stock seeds and even pesticides in the market.

-Soil and Environmental Factors – there are seed varieties which are more resistant to particular diseases, sold conditions or which flourish under particular weather conditions. Thus the particular conditions in your location will determine which seeds are more suitable.

-Marketing efforts of the companies could have an effect in the choice of seeds. Some companies have aggressive marketing efforts that tend to go across the value chain. Companies could have demonstration gardens in the rural areas, technical support staff and relationships with agro vets. These will affect your perception and that of the market of which seeds are suitable.

At the moment some of the most widely used brands are Tylka from Sygeneta, Anna by Monsato, Corazon from Amiran. Due to all the above considerations we cannot recommend which particular brand of seeds you will plant. However we are giving you the contact of an experienced and active agronomist who you can call for objective area specific advice. (See appendix)

Nursery Management

Tomatoes are first planted in nurseries before being transplanted to the main field or in the greenhouse. Chose a location where potatoes, pepper and related crops have not been grown in the last 3 senses this is to reduce the risk of infection because these crops share diseases.

You make a nursery by raising soil 15cm to 20 cm to make a bed, or by using germination trays and boxes. Make sure the soil is fine.

Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1cm and a spacing of 15cm to 20cm between the rows. The seeds are arranged along a furrow, and then covered lightly with soil. You can use your finger to make the furrows

Keep the soil moist but don’t water log. Also to prevent splashing during watering you can cover the bed with hay or dry glass.

Covering is done to increase moisture on the surface and prevent splash during irrigation. Watering will be done lightly using a watering can and timed in the morning to avoid conditions conducive for the development of diseases.

The seeds will sprout within 8 days. It will take about a month before the seedlings are ready for transplanting.

Harden-off seedlings a week or two before transplanting by reducing irrigation.

The farmer will be required to monitor the seedlings for pests, diseases and weeds using appropriate control methods when need arises.

Farmers can also use trays for raising the seedlings. Plants raised in trays generally have a better survival rate.

Seedlings can also be sourced from a certified seedling raiser or nursery.

Transplanting

The seedlings need about a month of growth before they are ready for transplanting.

Transplanting is done using a trowel or a panga. When moving plants from the nursery bed, ensure that their roots are protected with a ball of soil - this lessens transplant shock.

Transplanting is best done in the evening when the weather is cool.

Transplant directly into already prepared holes. Spacing ranges from 60x45 cm, or 60x60 cm depending on soil condition and water availability.

Nutrient Management

Nutritional programs enhance proper plant performance. Crop nutrient requirements change with each stage of growth.

The general principle is to apply Phosphate fertilizer as basal dressing for root development; for this, DAP or TSP can be used at the rate of 150Kg/ha. After transplanting, either Urea or CAN can be used for leaf establishment. Apply Urea after 2-3 weeks or CAN in the 5th week; both are applied at the rate of 200Kg/ha

At the onset of flowering, top dress with NPK at 200Kg/ha; a compound fertilizer is necessary for the supply of N, P and especially K that is needed for flowering. The NPK top dress can be repeated after the first harvest.

To correct micro-nutrient deficiencies, foliar feeds can be applied alongside the regular pesticide applications.

Avoid excessive Nitrogen; it leads to excess vegetative growth, poor fruit set, smaller fruits, hollow fruits and poor keeping quality.

Inadequate calcium can lead to blossom end rot disease; this disease can be corrected by applying calcium fertilizers.

Irrigation

The amount and frequency of irrigation depends on prevailing weather conditions and the stage of growth. Avoid irrigation in the evening to prevent disease development.

For a standard greenhouse of 240 square meters install a 500 liter tank, this will serve the plants for a single day - i.e. half a liter per plant per day.

Apply water regularly during dry spells to reduce physiological problems. Irrigation should also be done after each harvest.

Avoid excessive watering as this may lead to leaching of nutrients and water logging.

Support

Plant support is done by trellising the tomato on poles and wires. This is usually done early - three weeks after transplanting – to avoid plant damage.

Tie a string lightly on the tomato and then gently twine the string around the plant to avoid snapping the stem. Alternatively, a peg can be inserted in soil just adjacent to the tomato and a trellis or string tied on to it and then tied on the barbed wire above, the tomato is then made to wind on the string.

Supporting the crop allows free air movement and reduces moisture accumulation thus reducing disease incidences.

Pruning

To avoid the spread of diseases from plant to plant, do not use secateurs or a knife, ‘pinch out’ instead using your thumb and forefinger.

A weekly scouting is done for side shoots before they develop into big shoots.

Remove side shoots, laterals, old leaves, diseased leaves & branches and overshadowed lower leaves by hand.

After formation of the first fruit cluster of mature green tomatoes remove all the lower older leaves to allow for ventilation and disperse food to the fruits.

(defoliation)

Flowers should be pruned to 5-6 per cluster for medium- large sized fruits.

Weed management. The crop stand should be kept free of weeds at all time, because weeds compete for nutrients and are also vectors for disease. Hand weeding is recommended both for the greenhouse and outdoor tomatoes.

Pests and Diseases

Always scout for pests and diseases in the morning because this is the best time to get all the pests on the plant. Common pests include; Aphids, thrips, whiteflies, cutworms, bollworms, leaf miners, spider mites and nematodes.

Common diseases include: Wilts, Blight, Leaf spots and mildews.

For the control of pests, cultural methods are the best e.g. clean weeding, use of certified seed, destroying alternate hosts etc.

Do not wait till the pest or disease symptoms begin to show. Carry out preventive spraying, observe the product label recommendations in each case. For diseases e.g. mildews, blight, copper-based or sulphur-based fungicides are used.

Viral diseases can be controlled by controlling vectors. Key vectors include; aphids, thrips, whiteflies and nematodes.

Harvesting

Most indeterminate varieties are ready for harvesting in 60 to 75 days depending on weather.

Usually the very first cluster bears the first ready fruits.

Pick fruits at intervals as they ripen depending on your market demand. The very first harvest is usually less compared to the later harvests. Hand pick and place fruits in crates when the weather is cool

Harvesting continues for up to 6-8 months.

Once the plant reaches the top, (approximately 2 m long or the height of a normal

person standing with arms stretched upwards), laying is to be done. Bring the tomato down, bending it on the ground and trellising it on a string as done initially.

Observe the pre-harvest period incase any chemical was sprayed. Watering must be done immediately after every harvest.

Major Tomato Pests

The greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum)

This pest is serious as it has a very high multiplication rate, the whitefly larvae stages are also difficult to control with conventional contact products. The pest populations build up rapidly due to a life cycle of 20 days or less. Greenhouse Whitefly is a key vector to various viral diseases such as Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus.They usually cause stunting and growth of sooty mould. Poor fruit are formed. The pest is known to transmit viruses.

Control of whiteflies

Physical control –use of nets and double doors, sticky traps and destruction of infested debris, registered pesticide products can also be used.

Leaf miner (Liriomyza huidobrensis)

The adult leaf miner causes damage on the leaves with the feeding marks. The larvae tunnel the leaf reducing the photosynthesis area and often destroying the leaf. Heavy infestation can lead to loss of leaves and even death of the plant. When leaves are damaged the yield for that plant will be direct affected.

Control of Leaf miners

Biological control using Diglyphus, disease and cultural control such as burying plant residues.

Common Tomato Diseases

Late Blight - Phytophthora infestans

The disease is very common particularly during the rainy season but also when there is excess moisture or humidity in the green house. This disease can spread very fast wiping away plants within a short time. The disease also affects fruits.

Effects of the disease

The disease forms irregular greenish or water soaked lesions on the leaves, stems and fruits. Leaves develop bluish-grey patches, turn brown, wither but stay attached to the plant. Fruits develop watery spots which develop on upper half of fruit. The disease leads to rapid death of the entire plant.

Disease management

Crop rotation, management of nitrogen and field hygiene. Pesticides available include Azoxystrobin, Mancozeb, Propineb, Chlorothalonil, Metalaxyl, and Copper Oxychloride among others.

Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt is one of the major diseases of tomato. The disease is known to occur in the wet tropics, subtropics and some temperate regions of the world. The pathogen can also cause the bacterial wilt in several major crops such as

eggplant, pepper, potato, tobacco and tomato. This disease is one of the major challenges tomato farmers face.

Symptoms

Symptoms consist of a non-yellowing wilting of the youngest leaves at the ends of the branches during the hottest part of the day. During its early stages, only one or half a leaflet may wilt and plants may appear to recover at night,

when the temperatures are cooler. As the disease develops under favorable conditions, the entire plant may wilt quickly and desiccate although dried leaves remain green, leading to general wilting and yellowing of foliage and eventually the plant dies.

Control of the disease

• No chemical control available

Cultural practices such as crop rotation field hygiene and irrigation water Management can help

Growing resistant root stock

Fusarium wilt - Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici

Tomatoes may be infected at any age by the fungi. The wilt organisms usually enter the plant through young roots and then grow into and up the water conducting vessels of the roots and stem.

Symptoms

First symptoms are yellowing of the foliage, beginning with the lower leaves and working upward. Yellowing often begins on one side of the vine. Infected leaves later show downward curling, followed by browning and drying. The top of the vine wilts during the day and recovers at night, but wilting becomes progressively worse until the entire vine is permanently wilted. Vascular browning can be seen in infected stems and large leaf petioles. If the main stem is cut, dark, chocolate-brown streaks may be seen running lengthwise through the stem. This discoloration often extends upward for some distance and is especially evident at the point where the petiole joins the stem. Affected plants and their root systems are stunted. The degree of stunting depends upon time of root infection. Plants infected when they are young will be more severely stunted than plants infected at a later stage.

Control

Plant raised beds to promote soil water drainage away from roots

Thoroughly disinfect equipment before moving from infested to clean field.

Early Blight - Alternaria Solani

The disease is common in harvesting plants. In poorly managed green houses the disease can wipeout if timely management is not carried out. Disease development is most serious during warm wet conditions. Tomatoes infected with early blight develop small dark brown to black

spots on lower shaded leaves, stems and fruits. Leaf spots are boarded by a concentric leathery tissue. Spots in fruits often occur near the calyx end of the fruit.

In the seedbed the small plants wilt and die eventually. In older crops, stem death occurs while leaves fall off the crop and fruits drop prematurely.

Control of the disease

Crop rotation is key in managing the disease. Infected crop debris should be disposed off well to avoid re-infection but also not act as source of inoculums.

Use of certified disease free seeds as well as tolerant varieties can also help.

Fungicide use can also help to reduce spread and also cure disease plants ; Some of the effective chemicals available

include Chlorothalonil, Mancozeb, Propineb, Cymoxanil, Azoxystrobin and Propamocarb.

Bacterial Canker -Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis

Symptoms may be noted on leaves, stems, and inside fruits. Areas of leaves above the second or third cluster may show

dull green and water-soaked areas, which later appear desiccated and become necrotic. Wilting progresses until the

entire leaflet dies. Close examination of stems reveals open cankers. Splitting of the stem lengthwise reveals reddish

brown discoloration. The pith becomes granular to mealy and filled with cavities. On fruits there is formation of

yellow brown spots, slightly raised and surrounded by a white birds eye like halo spot.

Bacteria can occur on the seed coat as well as within the embryo. Seedborne inoculum may serve as one source

of the disease. Early recognition of the disease, especially in greenhouse crops, is essential if the disease is to be contained. The organism is seedborne and can survive for short periods in soil, greenhouse structures, and equipment and for longer periods in plant debris

Control of the disease

Cultural control methods such as using tolerant varieties, certified disease-free seeds, practicing crop rotation, proper disposal of infected plant material and managing watering by reducing overhead irrigation. Use of tools such as pruning knifes can also spread the disease from one plant to another hence, they should be sanitized. Fungicides that can be effectively used include Copper based fungicides, Carbendazim and Thiabendazole.

Affected plants can be uprooted to reduce spread.

Powdery Mildew - Leveillula taurica

Symptoms of the disease occur only on the leaves. Symptoms initially appear as light green to yellow blotches or spots that range from 1/8 - ½ inches in diameter on the upper surface of the leaf. The spots eventually turn brown as the leaf tissue dies. The entire leaf eventually turns brown and shrivels, but remains attached to the stem. A white, powdery

growth of the fungal mycelium is found on the top of leaves. The fungus produces specialized feeding structures called haustoria that invade host cells to extract nutrients. and is especially evident at the point where the petiole joins the stem. Affected plants and their root systems are stunted. The degree of stunting depends upon time of root infection. Plants infected when they are young will be more severely stunted than plants infected at a later stage.

Control

• Plant raised beds to promote soil water drainage away from roots

• Thoroughly disinfect equipment before moving from infested to clean field.

The removal of nutrients from host cells causes the yellowing and eventual necrosis of tomato tissue. The plant is not killed by this disease, but is progressively weakened and productivity greatly decreased.

Control Method

Greenhouses typically provide ideal conditions for disease development and spread. An integrated approach should be used to control powdery mildew in the greenhouse. Practices that maintain high relative humidity should be utilized. Infected plants should be removed from the house, which should be sanitized after production. Registered fungicides should be applied to plants as soon as symptoms are observed.

Control measures would include scouting, rouging of infected plants, use of resistant varieties, and spraying preventative chemicals.Azoxystrobin, Myclobutanil, Triforine, Thiophanate, Tebuconazole, and Sulfur based fungicides among others

Appendix

Greenhouse Suppliers

 

Supplier

Notes – Quoted from the

Contact

 

 

 

 

supplier marketing

 

 

 

 

 

information

 

 

 

 

Amiran Kenya

- Farmer's Greenhouse:

Old Airport North Road

 

 

 

 

8x15 Mini Greenhouse

0719 095 000

 

 

 

 

Tunnel

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

www.amrran.com

 

 

 

 

- Drip Irrigation

 

 

 

 

 

System: The Family Drip

 

 

 

 

 

System suitable for an

 

 

 

 

 

1/8th of an Acre

 

 

 

 

 

- Solid Water Tank:

 

 

 

 

 

500ltr solid water tank

 

 

 

 

 

- Farmer's Sprayer: 16

 

 

 

 

 

Liter Knapsack Sprayer

 

 

 

 

 

- Gold Medal Seeds: 2

 

 

 

 

 

types of seeds for an

 

 

 

 

 

1/8th of an acre

 

 

 

 

 

- Fertilizers: One

 

 

 

 

 

season worth of required

 

 

 

 

 

fertilizer

 

 

 

 

 

-Nursery Set: A

 

 

 

 

 

Complete pack of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nursery trays with inert materials for germination of seedlings.

-Agrochemicals: One season worth of required Agro-Chemicals

-Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): For the safe usage of the chemicals provided

-Training: Training offered on the usage of the kit and a certificate awarded upon completion

-Amiran Annual Agro Support Package: The Amiran Farmer’s Kit (AFK) Agro-support package is a post sales service. In exchange for an annual fee, Amiran’s expert agronomists will visit AFK farmers at their plots on a monthly basis and consult, advise and address any agricultural issues that may need attention.

In addition to the consultancy, during these visits Amiran’s

Agronomists will also expose the farmers to new technologies, growing techniques, products and Markets available.

This also gives Amiran the opportunity to stay connected to the farmers and to receive feedback on how they are progressing and the challenges the farmers

 

 

are facing for collective

 

 

 

 

 

action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amiran Agronomists

 

 

 

 

 

work hand in hand with

 

 

 

 

 

the Ministry of

 

 

 

 

 

Agriculture, Private

 

 

 

 

 

sectors,

International

 

 

 

 

 

Organizations, Markets

 

 

 

 

 

(Local and Exports) and

 

 

 

 

 

other experts in the

 

 

 

 

 

Industry

allowing

 

 

 

 

 

Amiran

to develop a

 

 

 

 

 

better understanding of

 

 

 

 

 

events in the farmer’s

 

 

 

 

 

region and to advise

 

 

 

 

 

accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

-Amiran Farmers Kit

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance: CIC - Amiran

 

 

 

 

 

Farmers Kit insurance

 

 

 

 

 

covers the hardware

 

 

 

 

 

components of the AFK

 

 

 

 

 

and the crop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agritech

Farmers Kit:

0724 636069

 

 

 

Greenhouses

- Knapsack sprayers –

0722 88 38 13

 

 

 

 

15 to 20 liters

[email protected]

 

 

 

-Open space irrigation

 

 

 

 

 

set up to fit 200sq meters

 

 

 

 

 

-One piece overall and

 

 

 

 

 

gloves

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Free soil testing

 

 

 

 

 

-Agronomic support for

 

 

 

 

 

entire crop at a ‘small’

 

 

 

 

 

fee

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Drip irrigation kit to fit

 

 

 

 

 

entire tunnel

 

 

 

 

 

-Free installation”

 

 

 

 

Illuminum Greenhouses

Illuminum Greenhousess

0720036606

 

 

 

 

now boast of being the

 

 

 

 

 

first African horticultural

 

 

 

 

 

company to develop a

 

 

 

 

 

SMS platform

 

 

 

 

 

greenhouse automation

 

 

 

 

 

system that controls

 

 

 

 

 

water flow and drip

 

 

 

 

 

irrigation.

 

 

 

 

 

We construct 4 main

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sizes;

 

 

 

 

 

Kadogo; 8M by 15M

 

 

 

 

 

Mwanzishi; 6M by

 

 

 

 

 

30M

 

 

 

 

 

Mzoefu; 13M by 30M

 

 

 

 

 

Maarufu; 50M by

 

 

 

 

 

100M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freelance Greenhouse

“ Basically you will buy all

0711880249 Maxwell Mutua

 

 

 

Building

the material needed for

 

 

 

 

 

greenhouse construction

 

 

 

 

 

and then i will supervise

 

 

 

 

 

the work. All you will pay

 

 

 

 

 

me is my fee. I will show

 

 

 

 

 

you where to buy the

 

 

 

 

 

materials; metal pipes

 

 

 

 

 

and bending services,

 

 

 

 

 

drip lines, water tank,

 

 

 

 

 

filter, elbow, male and

 

 

 

 

 

female adapters, pvc

 

 

 

 

 

greenhouse cover, side

 

 

 

 

 

net etc...”

 

 

 

 

Mavuno Greenhouses

 

Loresho Crescent #80

 

 

 

 

 

Loresho Estate Nairobi Kenya

 

 

 

 

 

Tel: 0734-698-424 / 0722-501-938

 

 

 

 

 

Email: [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmers Pride

-Greenhouse - The

[email protected]

 

 

International

cheapest greenhouse

 

 

 

 

 

which measures 6m x

 

 

 

 

 

12m wooden and costs

 

 

 

 

 

from Ksh. 150, 000 to put

 

 

 

 

 

up.

 

 

 

 

 

-Drip Irrigation System

 

 

 

 

 

-Water Tank: A minimum

 

 

 

 

 

of 500 liters water tank

 

 

 

 

 

-Seeds: of whichever

 

 

 

 

 

crop you want to plant -

 

 

 

 

 

you can plant tomatoes,

 

 

 

 

 

kales, spinach, peas,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

french beans among

 

 

other vegetables.

 

 

-Training

 

 

- Agrochemicals

 

 

 

 

Clarion Agri-tech

 

www.Clarionagritech.org

 

 

[email protected]

 

 

0729276749 / 0701 117711

 

 

 

PHFMS – Africa

Greenhouses and soil

Bush gate towers – Ruiru

 

testing

4th floor

 

 

0729 643 903

 

 

 

Agribase Bioscience

 

0732334366

 

 

 

Kenya Agriculture Research Institute

Soil Testing and Greenhouses

Headquarters:

Location: Kaptagat Rd, Loresho Nairobi Kenya

Email: [email protected]

Fax: +254-020-4183344

Tel No(s): +254-020-4183720, 4183301-20, 418 3307 / 0722-206-986 0722-206-988

Centers

KARI Kabete - (020-2464435)

KARI Katumani - (020-2311449)

KARI Kiboko - (020-353434)

KARI Kibos - (020-2071821)

KARI Kisii - (020-2333959)

KARI Kitale - (020-3509161)

KARI Matuga - (020-3300054)

KARI Molo - (020-2392190)

KARI Mtwapa - (020-2024751)

KARI Muguga North - (020-2524616)

KARI Muguga South - (020-2519703)

KARI Muguga-TRC - (020-2700604)

KARI Mwea - (020-2028217)

KARI Naivasha - (020-2026793)

KARI Ol-Ojoro-Orok - (020-2026510)

KARI Thika - (020-3536502)

KARI Tigoni - (020-2022052)

Agronomist

Michael Waweru – 0721 289942

This is a qualified agronomist with over 10 years experience working with farmers, seed and pesticides company and also in value addition. You can consult him on any issue to do with farming . He is able to offer advise over the phone and charges reasonable fees. Kindly say you have been referred by Crack A Business Kenya.

Tomato Processing Procedures

This information is provided courtesy of CTA. For commercial production you would definitely need bigger and more effcicient machines. The machines are available locally, customized at Kariobangi Light Industries. Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute ( KIRDI) could also be of help. Alternatively you can import from China.

Also note these are general procedures , specifics could vary with your scale, quality or differentiation needs.

Procedure For making Tomato Powder

Step 1: Choosing the tomatoes

Select tomatoes that are ripe, red, have a firm texture and are free of disease and mould.

Step 2: Washing

Wash the freshly harvested tomatoes in clean water in a large bucket.

Step 3: Slicing

Cut tomatoes into slices 0.5 cm thick.

Step 4: Drying

Spread the tomato slices on a clean, raised platform to sun dry. Use a solar dryer for a better quality product. To prevent contamination during open sun drying, cover with mosquito netting. For commercial-scale production, drying tomatoes using a hot-air dryer is advisable

Step 5: Milling

Mill the dried tomatoes using a hammer mill fitted with a sieve of appropriate mesh size.

Step 6: Packaging and storage

Place powder into polypropylene or polyethylene bags and seal using a candle or sealing machine (impulse sealer) and label with

date of manufacture and expiry date, one year later.

Pack the bags into cardboard boxes to prevent damage caused by light.

Store in a cool, dry place.

Tomato jam

Use one kilogramme of sugar for each kilogramme of tomato pulp.

Mix and place in a large cooking pan.

Place the pan on a stove, bring to the boil and stir continuously to avoid burning or sticking to base. Boil until mixture thickens.

Add lemon juice (two teaspoons for every kg of jam). The lemon juice helps the jam to set.

Test to see if jam is set. Take some jam in a spoon and tip into a cup of cold water. If the drop remains whole, the jam is ready. If it spreads out in the water, the jam needs further boiling.

If jam does not set even after additional boiling, add pectin (a thickening agent: one gramme of pectin per kilogramme of tomato pulp).

If jam is to be stored for more than one year, you need to add a chemical preservative

(sodium benzoate, added at a concentration of 100 mg for each kg of jam). Add to mixture near the end of the boiling process.

Use a sterilizing agent (sodium hypochlorite) or hot water to sterilize the jars.

Allow jam to cool and pour into the jars while it is still flowing.

Fill sterile jars to within 3 cm from brim of the jar.

Loosely cover the jars with lids and set aside for about five minutes to allow trapped air to escape. Tighten the lids and turn jars upside-down for two to three minutes to heat the lids to kill any germs.

Allow the jars to cool to room temperature before labelling. Jam can be stored at room temperature for up to one year if not opened.

Tomato sauce / ketchup

To make one kilogramme of tomato ketchup place 420 grammes of tomato pulp and

150 grammes of sugar in a large pan. Thoroughly mix and then add 300 grammes of vinegar, 300 grammes of salt, 70 grammes ground onion and 30 grammes of ground garlic and any other desired spices, such as chilli powder. Mix well.

Bring the mixture to the boil, continuously stirring with a wooden spoon.

Allow mixture to cool for about five minutes.

Pour into bottles, then cap or seal the bottles with the lids using a sealing machine.

Place bottles in a pan of cold water.

Continue cooling the bottled products by changing water in the pan.

Ketchup can be stored at room temperature for six months if not opened.

Use as a tasty sauce.

Download Tomato Farming (Greenhouse) business plan - Kenya PDF➥