how to start tomato farming

Tomato Farming Business Plan for Beginners

Do you want to start a tomato farming business? Tomato is one of the most important and highest-grown food crops in the world. This is a warm-season vegetable. A tomato plant cannot withstand frost and humidity. The tomato is botanically known as Lycopersicum esculentum and belongs to the family Solanaceae.

Tomato ranks third in priority after Potato and Onion in India but ranks second after potato in the world. India ranks second in the area as well as in the production of tomatoes. Tomatoes are generally used in three ways. One is in the green salad as fresh, in cooked food recipes, and as processed tomato products like sauce, juice, puree, ketchup, etc.

ReadProfitable Tomato Processing Business Opportunities

Commercial tomato cultivation can be done on open land and in greenhouses. The most important thing is you can grow tomatoes even on a small piece of land. And that will also give you a substantial profit. The major tomato-growing countries are China, the USA, Italy, Turkey, India, and Egypt.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes are one of the low-calorie vegetables; hold just 18 calories per 100 g. They are also deficient in fat content and have zero cholesterol levels.
  • The antioxidants present in tomatoes are scientifically found to be protective against cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic tumours.
  • Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, is a unique phytochemical compound found in tomatoes.
  • It contains very good levels of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as a and ß-carotenes, xanthins, and lutein. Altogether, these pigment compounds are found to have antioxidant properties and take part in night vision, the maintenance of healthy skin, and bones.
  • Regular consumption of tomatoes can also provide relief from gallbladder diseases such as gallstones.

Best Varieties For Tomato Cultivation

Some of the worldwide best varieties are Adoration, Azoychka, Alicante, Better Boy, Beefsteak, Big Rainbow, Blaby Special, Black Krim, Campari, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Garden Peach, Early Girl, Great White, Green Zebra, etc.

The most popular Indian varieties are Arka Saurabh, Arka Vikas, Arka Ahuti, Arka Ashish, Arka Abha, Arka Alok, HS101, HS102, HS110, Hisar Arun, Hisar Lalima, Hisar Lalit, Hisar Anmol, KS.2, Narendra Tomato 1, Narendra Tomato 2, Pusa Red Plum, Pusa Early Dwarf, Pusa Ruby, Co-1, CO 2, CO 3, S-12, Punjab Chhuhara, PKM 1, Pusa Ruby, Paiyur-1, Shakthi, SL 120, Pusa Gaurav, S 12, Pant Bahar, Pant T3, Solan Gola, and Arka Meghali.

Agro-Climatic Condition For Tomato Cultivation

The tomato crop is cultivated during the winter and summer seasons. It grows well under an average monthly temperature range of 21 0 -23 0 C but commercially it may be grown at temperatures ranging from 18 0 C to 27 0 C. Temperature and light intensity affect the fruit set, pigmentation, and nutritive value of the fruits.

Suitable Soil For Tomato Cultivation

The tomato grows on practically all soils from light sandy to heavy clay. Light soils are good for an early crop, while clay loam and silt loam soils are well suited for heavy yields. Most perfect is soil with more sand in the surface layer and clay in the sub-surface layers. Tomatoes do best in soil that has a soil reaction from pH 6.0 to 7.0.

Seed & Seedlings For Tomato Cultivation

Proper preparation of land is mandatory. For raising the seedlings in a nursery bed 300 – 400 g/ha seeds are required. Seedlings are grown within one month of transplanting raised beds of 60-100 cm width and of convenient length. Soil solarization of nursery beds by covering them with a white transparent polyethene sheet for one month should be done in the hot summer months. About 400-500 g seeds are needed for the one-hectare area. The suitable height for the tomato plant for transplanting is 7.5 cm to 10 cm with a good sturdy stem.

5 Steps to Start Tomato Farming Business

1. Create a Tomato Farming Business Plan

It is strongly advised to write a business plan for your upcoming tomato farm. Some of the chapters that must be included in your tomato farming business plan document:

Executive Summary

  • Provide a concise overview of your tomato farming business, including your objectives, mission, and vision.
  • Describe your farming location, size, and facilities.
  • Mention the funding requirements and the purpose of the business plan.

Business Description

  • Explain the type of tomato farming you plan to undertake (e.g., greenhouse, open field).
  • Provide information about your farm’s location, climate, and soil conditions.
  • Describe your business’s legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, cooperative).

Market Research

  • Conduct a thorough market analysis, including the demand for tomatoes in your region.
  • Identify your target market, such as local markets, wholesalers, or processors.
  • Analyze your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.

Products and Services

  • Detail the tomato varieties you intend to grow.
  • Describe any additional products or services you plan to offer, like tomato seedlings or value-added products (sauces, canned tomatoes).

Farming Operations

  • Explain your farming techniques and practices, including planting, watering, fertilization, pest control, and disease management.
  • Discuss your choice of organic or conventional farming.
  • Outline your crop rotation and maintenance strategies.

Equipment and Infrastructure

  • List the equipment and machinery you’ll need, such as tractors, irrigation systems, and storage facilities.
  • Provide information about your farm’s infrastructure, including greenhouses or shade nets.

Financial Plan

  • Create a detailed budget, including startup costs and monthly operating expenses.
  • Estimate your revenue, considering factors like yield, market prices, and production capacity.
  • Develop a cash flow projection to ensure your business’s financial sustainability.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

  • Describe your pricing strategy for tomatoes.
  • Explain your sales channels, which may include local markets, contracts with wholesalers, or exports.
  • Outline your marketing plan, such as advertising, branding, and promotions.

Risk Analysis

  • Identify potential risks to your tomato farming business, like weather-related challenges, pests, or market fluctuations.
  • Develop risk mitigation strategies to minimize potential losses.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Address the legal requirements for starting a tomato farming business in your region, including permits, licenses, and compliance with agricultural regulations.

2. Tomato Cultivation Process

a. Land preparation for Tomato Farming:

You must prepare the land to a fine tilth by thorough ploughing or digging 2 – 3 times. At the last, apply to plough organic manure and 10 kg carbofuran granules or 200 kg neem cake in the soil.

b. Transplanting:

The transplanting is done in small flatbeds or shallow furrows depending upon the availability of irrigation. In heavy soil, it is usually transplanted on ridges and during the rains also it is advantageous to plant the seedlings on ridges.

c. Irrigation:

Tomato plants require adequate moisture throughout their growth period. Drip irrigation is most appropriate to maintain a uniform moisture supply. You will need to arrange the first irrigation soon after the seedlings are transplanted. Daily irrigation is necessary when plants are small.

d. Weed Control:

You can use intercultural operations like hand hoeing, weeding, mulching, and staking as general systems for the control of weeds.

3. Plant Protection Systems For Tomato Cultivation

The Basic two issues are insect management and disease management. Some of the major potential harmful insects are the Leaf-eating caterpillar, Tomato fruit borer, Tomato Wilt, and Powdery mildew. Proper precautions and preventive measures need to be followed.

Tomato is attacked by a vast range of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. The most common diseases are anthracnose, bacterial spot, bacterial blight, bacterial canker, buckeye rot, damping-off, early blight, fusarium blight, late blight, leaf curl, mosaic, powdery mildew, rots, and septoria leaf blight. You must provide proper disease management to the farm to ensure the minimum losses from the diseases.

4. Harvesting & Storage For Tomato Farming

The maturity of tomato plants is achieved after 8-12 weeks of planting. The yield of a tomato depends on variety and season, which varies from 20 to 24 t/ha. Quality characteristics such as flavour, texture, and colour are better maintained when the fruit is harvested at an earlier stage of maturity.

The harvesting time depends on the purpose for which tomato is grown and the distance over which they are to be transported. You must pick tomatoes at the mature green stage for long-distance transportation. Fully ripened and good red colours are desirable for processing and preparing tomato puree and ketchup.

5. Tomato Cultivation Export Opportunity

Export is one of the most potential avenues of earnings for the major tomato-producing countries. There is a certain process of packaging for export purposes. For export purposes, the tomato is first packed in consumer packs of LDPE or PP (polypropylene). Twenty consumer packs of 250 gm are placed in a 5 Kg CFB box. High-yielding F1 hybrids are most suitable for export.

Organic tomatoes also have a very good demand in both the domestic and international markets. For export, you must enhance the quality of tomatoes and bring them to international standards not only in production but also in presentation, packing, etc.

Some of the most important required documents for tomato export are Invoice, Packing List, Certificate of origin, Shipping Bill, Bill of handling, Airway Bill, Letter of Credit, etc. You can expect a Benefit-Cost ratio: of 6.5 from your tomato cultivation business.

Things To Consider in Tomato Farming Business

Commercial tomato cultivation is a profitable vegetable farming business. However, to ensure profit maximization from the produce, you must maintain some basics.

  • Variety choice plays a big role in the success of a tomato cultivation business. You must select the right one that fits with the other climatic and soil conditions.
  • One must start the plantation at the right time of the season.
  • You will need to follow the proper plantation and crop management practices.
  • The right soil condition enhances the per Ha production output. Soil testing and treatment are recommended.
  • You must arrange proper irrigation for tomato cultivation.
  • Proper fertilisation and insect management are required
  • You must prepare for any disease management
  • Before marketing planning is required.
  • Most important – You must craft a financial plan before starting tomato cultivation. The calculation of ROI is highly recommended to ensure the maximum profit.

Tomato Farming can be done in multiple ways. Though open field cultivation is the most popular, other ways like polyhouse tomato farming, greenhouse farming, and hydroponics tomatoes are being explored throughout the world. If done properly, tomato farming has a wide opportunity both in domestic as well as in the export market.