Suitable Tomato Varieties for Dry Areas
establish well in well-drained soils, good amount of calcium and potassium and high
in organic matter with a pH of between 5 and 7.5. High humidity and low
temperatures delay color formation and ripening as well as increased disease
and pest infestation.
Market demand and shelf life determines the variety farmers in Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASALs) choose to plant. Cal-J, one of the tomato varieties, is preferred by farmers because it has a high market demand and stay for up to 14 days before it starts to rot.
Aden and Onyx which are not easily infected with diseases and which seems to have Cal-J characteristics are farmers most preferred choice. Tanzanite, although a high yielding variety (20t/ha), is least preferred by farmers because of its large fruit size and short shelf life of less than 5days.
Arid regions favor Eden, Onyx, Monyalla, Roma, Kentom and Monset varieties of tomato while M82, Marglobe and Nourvelle are least liked by ASAL farmers mainly because of their low market demand.
Tomato, a good source of vitamin A and Iron, is rich in Calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C and carbohydrates. The fruit has medicinal value as a gentle stimulant for kidneys, washing off toxins that contaminate the body system.
The fruit is growth for both fresh domestic and export market but there is increasing demand for processing.