Large Scale Tomato Production
There’s a demand for tomatoes all-year round and planting the crop is not really complicated.
Large scale tomato production could be one of the wisest decisions an agriprenuer could make. Planting tomatoes is not complicated and a sure market awaits this product, considering the year-round demand and its many uses. This vegetable is used in preparing salads, pickles, catsup, candies, sauce, juice, soups, fruit preserves, paste, vinegar and wine. It is served raw, baked, stewed or fried and can even be used as dog food. Its skin and seeds serve as animal feed, tomato flakes and medicine.
You can choose from among the following varieties: Canbal, Ambal or Mati-kina, Pearl Harbor, Pritch and Rutgers, Homestead, Earlieana, Ace or Marglobe and Improved Harbor, a variety developed by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to withstand the rainy season.
Tomatoes can grow on different soil types, from silt to clay loam or sandy loam. It needs warm weather and ample amount of sunshine to produce profitable yields.
To raise the tomato seedlings, sow seeds in seedbeds. One half to three-fourth kg of seeds is enough to plant one hectare of land. Make shallow furrows 15 cm apart across the length of the seed box or seedbed. Sow seeds thinly and evenly into shallow furrows and cover with fine soil. Water the soil daily and keep it moist by placing them under shade.
While waiting for the seedlings to sprout, prepare the land by plowing the field two to three times. For slightly rolling area, follow contour plowing.
After 25 to 30 days, transplant the healthy seedlings into the prepared field. Set those 50 cm apart on furrows and 80 to 100 cm between rows. Water them and provide with shade.
For good harvest results, apply 1.5 metric tons (MT) of chicken dung, 1MT lime and inorganic fertilizer at the rate of 100-150-120 kg NPK per hectare. This formula can be followed by mixing 15 bags of ammonium phosphate (16-20-0), 3.5 bags of urea (45-0-0), and 4 bags of muriate of potash (0-60-0).
To avoid diseases like bacterial wilt or tomato fruit worm, spray regularly with insecticides such as Lannate and Azodril plus fungicides like Dithane M-45 and Benlate at weekly intervals 14 days after field-setting the plants. Most farmers usually combine insecticide and fungicide to save on labor cost of spraying.
Twenty-five to 30 days after transplanting, support the plants by installing stakes and trellises to protect the fruits from bruises and soil borne diseases. Set 3-meter long bamboo or ipil-ipil stakes in pairs along the rows at 4 to 5 meters interval. Tie strings on the stakes to form a series of tepees and x’s to support the tomato plants.
Harvest tomatoes at the green-mature stage and sort into three classes, namely: A (big-size, green mature fruits); B (mixed sizes, breaker red ripe fruits); C (small size, green mature fruits).
Pack class b on wooden crate with 25 kilos capacities. These are either picked up by traders in the farm site and brought to the local market while class A and C are shipped to Metro Manila markets.
Harvested tomatoes are placed in containers with rice hull (ipa) ash. If you want to hasten the ripening of tomatoes, place your harvest in dry rice hull ash. If placed in moist ash, the ripening rate is normal and the weight loss of fruits is controlled.
You could still make money out of your unsold tomatoes. Red and ripe fruits could be made into catsup, paste or even candies.
Source: Agribusiness Opportunities. MARID Agribusiness.