Three times the effort for ten times the yield: Growing tomatoes in Nigeria

| February 5, 2018

Download this story

This week’s Farmer story from Comoros shows how, in that country, tomato growers must work hard but are well-rewarded for their efforts. Our Script of the week shows a similar situation in Nigeria.

Nigeria produces about 1.5 million tonnes of tomatoes every year, with a value of three billion Nigerian naira (US$8.3 million). Tomato farming is becoming more and more popular in the country. The demand for the crop by retail consumers and processors and the relatively short time from seed to harvest is very attractive to farmers with “naira signs” in their eyes.

But farmers need to be aware that growing tomatoes is not as straightforward as growing other crops. It is a very delicate and capital-intensive crop. In this script, we talk to an agronomist at a large tomato farm about the realities of tomato farming, and we talk to two farmers about their experiences growing the crop. We find out more about popular tomato varieties, about ways to reduce costs, and ways to get capital from banks or agricultural funds.

Farmers who plan to grow tomatoes and other high-value, high-input crops will find this script useful. It shows budding tomato farmers what they can expect, what the challenges and the benefits are, and it makes them aware that, although tomatoes are not a straightforward crop to grow, the benefits are considerable.

If you choose to use this script as inspiration for creating your own program, you could talk to farmers who grow tomatoes or other high-value crops in your area, and the experts who advise them. You might ask them:

  • What is the market for growing tomatoes in this area?
  • What does it take to get into the market—in terms of capital, knowledge, etc.?
  • How long should farmers expect to work at growing tomatoes before they make a good profit?