Tomato Cultivation and Farming in india

It is rare to find good cuisine without tomatoes. In India, almost all Punjabi dishes have tomatoes as a base for their gravy. Every restaurant needs it. Every household needs it. It is probably the third most common vegetable (technically a fruit) in an Indian household after potatoes and Onion. Even though Tomatoes are one of the most important and used vegetables in constant demand, it is also one of the riskiest crops for Indian farmers. There are several reasons for the love-hate relationship with tomatoes. If you have ever purchased tomatoes from your local vendor and kept a track of the prices, you would sometimes feel confused. 

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Let me explain. In January 2022, Tomato prices shot up to 150 rs per kilo. That’s very high for most people in India. It stood at that price for nearly a fortnight and all of a sudden the price dropped to 30 rs per kilo in February. Today, august 2022, the price is at a stable 30 rs after a 3-month drop in price at 20 rs per kilo. There are times when I have purchased tomatoes for 2 and 3 rs per kilo and that’s from a retail market. We wonder what the trader and the shop owner got. Most of all, what did the farmer get?

Tomato cultivation is good. It’s excellent. Why else do you think farmers continue growing tomatoes year after year in such unpredictable conditions? There are no processing factories near most farms. The only byproduct of Tomatoes is tomato sauce and there are less than 5 companies that do that on a large scale. There is very less possibility of selling your product to companies like Nestle (Maggi sauce… and ketchup ) as they have their channels to acquire products and most farmers are not even near any of these factories. Transportation to these locations from thousands of kilometers away for most farmers only add up costs that aren’t feasible.

Tomato is A highly perishable product that can be cultivated almost anywhere in the state with any soil condition. It’s also a product with stable demand. Very few opportunities to sell it to processing companies to produce ketchup or sauce. High requirements when it comes to farming and production. Needs care, fertilizer, and pesticides. Overall… The tomato is a high-risk product. You could make a big buck out of it or you could lose out entirely. A gamble which some farmers take, once they get a feel for cultivating tomatoes.

Tomato farming techniques

Most of the farmers in India practice the traditional methods of farming. This goes for tomatoes too. The farms are plowed, raised rows are created and saplings are replanted. Drip irrigation is practiced lately but by very few. Most farmers rely on traditional forms of irrigation. Fertilizers are usually hand-dispersed manually. Pesticides are used by recommendations of local pesticide shops. These shops act as doctors for the plants without proper certification or ability to analyze. Most of the time recommendations are made without seeing the plant or understanding the cause or symptoms of the disease in plants. Soil tests are rarely done, Fertilizers are used based on schedule and not based on requirements.

The practice of farming is the same all over India. Most farmers don’t realize that there are new technologies in the market that can increase the yield by 300-400 % with some small changes. While the organic farming method is gaining more interest and importance, Many farmers are still struggling with the practice and tend to give up far earlier than they should due to a lack of knowledge. 

Universities are taking up the initiative to increase the yield but aren’t focused on educating the farmers on what they should grow on their land and what is the best crop feasible for the conditions of soil, water, and weather. 

There are problems, but farmers find their way to profit from every crop they cultivate in India.

Tomato farming is done in 2 seasons in India and the plants vary from normal short ones to longer ones which require staking and support. The requirements for both these plants will differ and the practices too will vary. For the ones which require staking, the yield is considerably higher (though this is not a consensus). Staking is usually done using bamboo poles with a scissor-shaped arrangement on both ends, supported and restrained by metal wires. Threads or twines are used to support the tomato plants in between. A clear video illustration of the method is given at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEItNUSTHn4

Tomato farming in polyhouse

While this form of tomato cultivation is not widely practiced, It’s an excellent Semi controlled form of cultivating tomatoes. Polyhouse has several advantages among which temperature control and pest management are key. Coupled with hydroponic techniques, A playhouse with tomatoes has the potential to yield a lot more than traditional farming. This also reduces the pain of pest management, weather problems, and diseases like blight which are caused due to climatic conditions and humidity.

Hydroponic Tomato Farming

Hydroponics is one of the most efficient types of farming for almost all products. Tomato is not an exception either. With an increase of over 300-500% in yield, a plant has the potential of producing up to 25 Kilos of tomatoes as opposed to 3-4 Kilos in the traditional farming methods. Hydroponics, though very expensive to set up, can yield higher productivity with lesser pest and water resources. Proper setup of a hydroponic farm for tomatoes is rare in India due to the low price of the product sometimes dropping to as low as 2 rs per Kilo. But if you look carefully, Hydroponics in tomatoes is extremely profitable. A hectare of tomato farming with hydroponics could give you a yield of up to 100 Tonnes. The market price for 100 Tonnes is 2,00, 000 even with the lowest price. And if the average price is considered, expect it to go up to 10,00,000 per hectare. With a one-time investment of 4-5 Lakh, you would surely be able to cover your cost and make a profit the first year itself if you can sell all the produce at an average price. This of course comes with a steep learning curve and knowing which seeds to cultivate among many other factors. 

Tomato farming in India

Tomato production in India has been growing at a steady rate every year. While the number of hectares has also increased in tomato production, the use of new technology has been very low. While farmers in other parts of the world are increasing the yield per hectare to approximately 50, 60, and even 100 tonnes per acre, Indian farmers are still grappling with 24-25 tonnes per acre and struggling to even produce that much. While not all farmers are doing poorly, most of them are, putting the average below most other countries. For instance, Algeria took its yield from 23 tonnes per hectare to 60 tonnes per hectare. Argentina is at 77 tonnes per hectare and Australia is producing nearly 100 tonnes per hectare of tomatoes per year.

What’s even worse is that India processes less than 1% of the total production of tomatoes while most other countries have the means to process the excess tomatoes never letting it go to waste and also maintaining a price. 

Southern and central India are key tomato producers with the majority of the produces coming from the states of Karnataka, Andhra, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh. All surrounding states are provided for by these states even when they can meet their demands. India produces tomatoes throughout the year but in 2 seasons, June to September and from October to February.

Source: http://www.tomatonews.com/en/india-the-sleeping-tiger–part-1_2_1213.html

http://www.tomatonews.com/en/agricultural-yields-60-increase-over-20-years_2_392.html

Tomato farming in Gujarat

Tomato is a very important crop for farmers in Gujarat. Gujarat stands 6th in the production of tomatoes in India. The major areas with tomato production include Anand, Kheda, Gandhinagar, Dang, Dahod, Narmada, Panchamahal, Banaskantha, Vadodara, Valsad, Sabarkantha, and Bhavnagar. The Junagadh agricultural university has been researching high-yielding varieties for Gujarat conditions. The new varieties have an increase in yield by 26-31 % in areas of Gujarat. The varieties used in Gujarat are Avinash, Abhinav, Himshikar, Pusa Ruby, Junagadh Ruby, Gujarat Tameti-1, GT-3, Gujarat Anand Cherry Tomato 1, Gujarat Anand Tomato 5, Anand Tomato -3, Gujarat Tomato 2, Junagadh Tomato 3 (JT 3). These are the major varieties that are promoted by agricultural universities in Gujarat. 

Tomato Varieties, Yield, and More

Name of Hybrid VarietyInstitute/CompanyYield Start
AmoghNamdhari Seeds Pvt. Ltd.Bangalore75 Days
Ankur-128Ankur seeds ltd.100 Days
Arka AbhijeetIndian Institute of Horticulture Research, Bangalore55 Days
Arth-3Ankur Seeds Pvt. Ltd.,80 Days
Arth-4Ankur Seed Pvt. Ltd., Nagpur80 Days
ArtiCentury Seeds Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi120 Days
BhagyshreeM.P.K.V., Rahuri65 Days
DhanashreeM.P.K.V., Rahuri65 Days
KarnatakaIndo-American hybrid seeds company80 Days
LikeSandoz India Ltd., Pune60 Days
ManmohanCentury Seeds Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi50 Days
N.S.-816Namdhari Seeds Pvt. Ltd.Bangalore85 Days
Nath Amrut-601Nath Seeds Ltd., Aurangabad120 Days
RajashreeM.P.K.V., Rahuri65 Days
RamyaIndo-American Hybrid Seeds Bangalore65 Days
RatnaSandoz India Ltd., Pune60 Days
SurakshaNamdhari Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore75 Days
UstavaNamdhari Seeds Pvt. Ltd.Bangalore80 Days
Name of Hybrid VarietyYieldFruit SizeOther Features
Abhiman95-100 gm
Amogh75-80 Gram
Ankur-12860-80 gm
Apurva110-120 gmresistant to blight, suitable for distant markets.
Arka Abhijeet40 tonnes60 gmLong Shelf life fruits. Resistant to Bacteria wilt
Arka Shreshta70 tonnes per hectare75gmResistant to Bacterial wilt, Good for transportation
ArkaVardan140 gmRoot Knot Nematode resistant, good for hilly areas
Arth-390-95 tonnes
Arth-4100 – 110 tonnes
ArtiGood for Transportation
Avinash-2120 tonnes per hectare80-100 gm
Bhagyshree80 gm
Century-1270-80 gmGood for Transportation
Dhanashree60 gm
Divya90-100 Tonnes80-90 gmPlant height is 1 meter
H.T.M 10880-100 gm
H.T.M.185100-120 gm
Hrishi40 tonnes70gmresistant to verticillium and fusarium.
Hybrid Chihara75 gmHigh Yield
Hybrid No. 14High Yield
Hybrid No. 15High Yield Cherry Variety. Good for Kitchen gardening
Karnatakaresistant to fusarium, verticillium, and nematode.
Kuber Gita60-80 gm
Like80-100 gmGood for transportation
Madhuri50-70 tonnes100 gm
Manisha80-100 tonnes per hectareGood shelf life. Good for transportation
Manmohan80-90 gmGood for Transportation
Minakshi60-100 tonnes per hectare80 gm
N.S.-53590 Gm
N.S.-81280-85 Gm
N.S.-81570-80gm
N.S.-816100-110 GmNo staking, Straight Growing Plants
Nath Amrut-101110-120 tonnes per hectare80-100 gm
Nath Amrut-110110-120 tonnes per hectare80-100 gm
Nath Amrut-210110-120 tonnes per hectare60 gm
Nath Amrut-60180-85 gm
Nath Amrut-901110-120 tonnes per hectare100 gm
Pradnya100-110 tonnes90-100 gmGood for transportation, Ripens evenly, Root Knot Nematode resistant
Pusa Hybrid 130 tonnes / Hectare60 GmTolerates high temperature
Pusa Hybrid 255tones / Hectare80 Gm
Pusa Hybrid 470-80 gmGood for transportation, Ripens evenly, Root Knot Nematode resistant
Rajashree85 gm
Ramya90 Gm
Rasika100 tonnes per hectare60-125 gm
Ratna60-125 gm
Rupali
Suman50-60 gmRequires staking
Supriya70 gmHigh Yield
Suraksha100 gm
Swarna40-50 gmHigh Yield
T.H.-39090-100 tonnes per hectare80-100gm
Ustava90 gmResistant to fruit cracking
Vishal Arka75 Tonnes / Hectare140 gmResistant to cracking

Profiting from Tomato cultivation

 Before we get into the economics of tomato cultivation, let’s look at the farming requirements, techniques, and practices of farmers who cultivate tomatoes.

Profit from tomato crops per acre, Estimates, and economics

Let’s estimate the expenses first before jumping into yield and returns.

Nursery Preparation
Seeds (60 Grams)3000
Cocopeat500
Perlite700
Grow Tray1000
Total Labour1500
Farm Preparation
Plowing2500
Cow Manure and Organic Compost4000
Mulching Paper8000
Trellises25000
Ongoing Expenses
Fertilizers8000 (includes application)
Pesticides8000 (includes application)
Others
Harvesting8000
Transportation10000
Packaging5000
Total Cost85,200

An exorbitant amount for the one-acre crop which argues to be profitable. Risky to invest such a huge amount in a cash crop but the bargains are high and the chance of profitability is high but risky.

Now let’s look at some of the income figures and how much you may make depending on the market value and Yield

 In this scenario, let’s assume that the total yield is 5 tonnes per acre but the prices vary.

PriceTotal RevenueProfit (revenue – expense
315000-70200
420000-65200
525000-60200
630000-55200
735000-50200
840000-45200
945000-40200
1050000-35200
1155000-30200
1260000-25200
1365000-20200
1470000-15200
1575000-10200
1680000-5200
1785000-200
18900004800
19950009800
2010000014800

5 Tonnes per acre is the lowest yield in tomatoes and most farmers usually get a yield from 10 Tonnes per acre to even 20 tonnes per acre depending on the variety. But if you have just 5 tonnes yield per acre, you would only break even when the price is 18 rs per kilo or more. Let’s assume the Yield was 10 Tonnes per acre this time and see where we break even

Profit if your yield is 10 Tonnes

PriceTotal RevenueProfit
330000-55200
440000-45200
550000-35200
660000-25200
770000-15200
880000-5200
9900004800
1010000014800
1111000024800
1212000034800
1313000044800
1414000054800
1515000064800
1616000074800
1717000084800
1818000094800
19190000104800
20200000114800

Here, You break even when the price is 9 rupees or more if you have 10 tonnes of yield

In the last scenario, let’s assume that you do have the maximum yield of 20 tonnes per acre.

PriceTotal RevenueProfit
360000-25200
480000-5200
510000014800
612000034800
714000054800
816000074800
918000094800
10200000114800
11220000134800
12240000154800
13260000174800
14280000194800
15300000214800
16320000234800
17340000254800
18360000274800
19380000294800
20400000314800

With a 20 Tonnes yield per acre, chances are that you will make a profit even if the prices drop to 5 rupees per kilo, albeit at a very small profit. If you do have a yield of 20 tonnes and the price is consistently above 20 rupees, you would stand to make a profit of 3 Lakh rupees per acre in 4-5 months. This is an excellent profit for any crop when it comes to per acre calculation. But of course, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. First of all, you need to get the right seeds to ensure a high yield of more than 20 tonnes per acre. Second, you need to make sure that your entire farming practice is well-maintained and monitored. From irrigation, fertilizers, and pest control, everything should be perfectly balanced. You should prevent the wastage of money and resources. And last of all, when the product is ready, you should have a good price too.

If all of the above factors are in your favor, then the average profit per acre from tomato cultivation could range anywhere from 14,000 rs to 3 Lakh rupees per crop. And if you ever go on a loss, the loss would be in the estimate of 1 Lakh rupees in revenue and 4-5 months in time.

You should ensure that the average tomato yield per acre is more than 10 tonnes and nearing 20 tonnes.

Tips for High yield and high-quality produce of Tomatoes

  1. Trellis is the key to better tomato crops. The better the trellis and support, you will have better branching and fruiting. If the trellis is not able to support your fruits, no matter what yield you get, most of it will be damaged
  2. Mulching: Mulching is best for preventing weeds but when it comes to tomato crops, it’s also the one barrier between your fruit and the soil. Tomatoes are heavy and usually require the support of trellises to bear their fruit weight. Even with all the support, you will find a good 10-15% of your fruits touching the ground. These fruits will usually be stained, rotten, or spoilt once it touches the ground during their maturing stages resulting in poor price. Mulching sheets will prevent these fruits from going bad and not touching the soil, straight away giving you a 10% increase in yield of good quality produce
  3. Application of prevention pesticides and insecticides. : Most farmers take action once they find a disease or pest. Some farmers take advanced measures. It’s important to keep a watch on the pest and disease conditions on your farm but if a farmer near you is facing a pest condition that you haven’t started getting yet, it’s time to start a prevention schedule for those pests. It may not be necessary at all and these pests may never attack your crop, but the risk in tomato crops could be very expensive
  4. Timely application of fertilizers: Fertilisers and irrigation make for a good tomato crop. Fertilize your crop every 10 days. There should be no delay in fertilizing the crops depending on the nutrients required for each phase
  5. Irrigation. With Mulching sheets in place, do not take the risk of leaving your plants under stress. Water your plants daily during evening hours. One hour with drip irrigation is all it takes. Plants that are stressed continuously for water will produce poor fruits and flowers