Drip Irrigation

Tomato farming in Kenya using drip irrigation system

tomato farming using drip irrigation system

Tomato farming in Kenya using drip irrigation system

Tomato farming using drip irrigation system

Tomato farming in Kenya is vastly encroaching into agricultural sector in Kenya because of new discoveries in technologies for the growth of this crop in terms of diseases control, nutrients application methods, harvesting techniques and irrigation methods.

Benefits of tomato farming in Kenya

This fruit is globally accepted for its health benefits, economical values and cultural preferences by other communities globally. The benefits of tomatoes farming in Kenya include;

  • The fruits are enriched with vitamins like vitamins A, C and K which are important for skin nourishment and strong body immunity. Furthermore, tomatoes help in maintaining healthy blood pressure, promote good eyesight and in the growth of healthy hair, skin and nails.
  • The tomato fruit is also important for expectant mothers since it contains the enzymes that are vital for protecting babies from neural tube effects (tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord).
  • This nutritious fruit also helps in balancing the sugar level in the body thus very suitable for diabetes patients.
  • Tomatoes farming also promote the financial income for the farmers since the time taken to mature in the farm is very short depending on the variety grown.

Varieties of tomatoes grown in Kenya

The varieties of tomatoes farming in Kenya depends whether they are varieties that stop growing when the tomato fruit starts forming on the top bud (determinate variety). Determinate variety normally grow to a height of 80 centimeters to 100 centimeters and they have very strong stems hence do not need propping.

The determinate varieties include

  • Rio Grande
  • Assila f1
  • Kilele f1
  • Cal j
  • Eden f1
  • Rambo f1

The other variety is the indeterminate which continues to grow and produces fruits continuously unless met by environmental challenges like droughts and diseases.

The indeterminate varieties include

  • Anna f1
  • Prostar f1

 

Table showing the varieties of tomatoes that are grown in Kenya

Tomato

Variety

Properties

Climatic requirements

Rio Grande determinate . deep red with sweet-tasting

· Can yield over 15tonnes per acre.

· Matures between 75 days to 85 days

· Tolerance to verticillium and Fusarium wilt

·best in warm climates( day temperature of 200C -250C and night temperature of 150C -170C)

·Well distributed rainfall of minimum of annual 600mm

·Altitude above the sea level of up to 2000mm

 

Assila f1 Determinate · Red and sweet

· Oval in shape

· Early maturity of 75 days

· resistant to yellow leaf curl and nematodes

· Yielding up to 21tonnes per acre

·Hard membrane hence can be easily transported with minimum damage.

 

 

 

· perform well in warm climates( day temperature of 200C -250C and night temperature of 150C -170C)

· Well distributed rainfall of minimum of 600mm

· height above the sea level of up to 2000mm

 

Kilele f1 determinate

· Tolerant to yellow leaf curl

·Matures 75 days -85 days after transplanting

· gives up to 35tonnes per acre

·  elongated fruit

·  they have 21 days shelve life hence giving ample time for market search

 

.good for drier and humid areas
Cal j Determinate . Takes between 75 -85 days after transplanting

· Yields up to 12tonnes per acre

· Easy to transport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·Do well in warm climates( day temperature of 200C -250C and night temperature of 150C -170C)

·         Well distributed rainfall of minimum of 600mm

·         Altitude above the sea level of up to 2000mm

 

Anna f1 inderminate · Does well in both greenhouses and open field

· Matures in 75 days

·Yield up to 73tonnes per acre with average of above 30kgs per plant

· Deep red ,oval in shape and firm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·Do well in warm climates( day temperature of 200C -250C and night temperature of 150C -170C)

·Well distributed rainfall of minimum of 600mm

·Altitude above the sea level of up to 2000mm

 

Prostar f1 Hybrid indeterminate ·Do well in both greenhouses and open field

· Takes 80-85 days to mature after transplanting.

· Tolerant to bacterial wilt and leaf curl virus

· Yields up to 180tonnes per acre

· Has long harvesting period and excellent keeping quality

 

 

 

·Do well in warm climates( day temperature of 200C -250C and night temperature of 150C -170C)

·Well distributed rainfall of minimum of 600mm

·Altitude above the sea level of up to 2000mm

 

 

Factors to consider when selecting tomato variety

  • Disease resistance capability i.e. resistance to yellow leaf curl, bacterial wilt, nematodes and Fusarium and vertirillium
  • Open pollinated or hybrid though hybrid is the best but very costly seedling.
  • Fruit color, shape, maturity, portability and ecological requirements.
  • Labour availability and land availability.

Nursery preparation for tomato farming in Kenya

As the rule of the thump, healthy tomatoes perform best when transplanted from a well maintained nursery and to achieve fine nursery bed, the following procedures may be of use;

  • Raise your nursery to about 15 centimeters high with working paths of about 40 centimeters in between.
  • Till the soil to a fine tilth to make easier for the seedlings to break through as they germinate. Seed s should not be buried deep into the soil.
  • Use shovels or sticks to make the furrows upon which seeds will be planted.
  • After planting the seeds in the furrows cover the seeds slightly with soil and also you can do mulching  with bacterial free plant leaves or grass to maintain moisture
  • Water the seedbed regularly while monitoring the bed to avoid digging up seeds or causing rills in the nursery bed.
  • After about 1 to 2 weeks the seeds will sprout. Continue watering up to transplanting time

The procedure of obtaining a good bed for tomato farming using drip irrigation system

Properly prepared land for tomato farming

The plowing should be done along with the land/garden during the first plowing and across during the second plowing.
This will ensure microorganisms and weed seeds are brought above the soil and exposed to the sunlight.
On exposing these it ensures faster growth of weed seeds due to warmth. After germination of the weed seeds due to favorable conditions brought by sunlight, use the recommended herbicides to kill the weed. Get recommendations from a qualified agronomist.
Do final plowing to bury the dead plants into the soil. The weed will later decompose/rot to add nutrients to the soil. The beds should then be leveled into a uniform height and tilth to ensure uniform germination of seedlings.

Steps of obtaining the best bed for drip irrigation in Kenya

In bed preparation, the standard and most recommended bed sizes range from one meter (1m) for short season crops and sometimes one and a half (1.5)  meters are for perennial crops like Stevia and other herbs.

The most convenient path width should be between 40cm to 50cm. This will ensure major parts of the land are put under cultivation.
After the selection of the convenient bed width and the paths, the beds are made to a depth of between 12cm to 30cm.
While digging the beds depths, breakdown soil clods (big soil particles brought about during plowing) into fine particles to allow free movement of air and water through the soil.
Remove weeds and mix manure into the soil to expose microorganisms the soil to the sunlight to be killed.
After all these practices prepare and organize for the drip installation process. Collect drip irrigation equipment like drip tape, drip fittings (takeoffs,  end caps and starters) and drip irrigation pipes as the main lines