Tree Tomato Farmers in Kenya Rewarded With Good Prices Due to A Biting Shortage

If you have been dreaming of eating the fruits of your own labour then the idea of tree tomatoes farming is a literal way to do just that. The oval-shaped fruit is in short supply in Kenya and various distributors including supermarkets are scouting for farmers to help them meet growing demand.

tree tomato farming in kenya
Tree tomato farming in Kenya
One good thing about this crop is that once you plant your seedlings you do not have to always be there to take care of them, which means you can set-up a farm somewhere near your current place of work and monitor it remotely as a side hustle.

The most interesting bit of it is that you can get started with your meager savings and make as much as Ksh133,000 per month out of just one acre of land. But before you rush to invest allow me to guide you through the steps of investing in tree tomato farming.

1. Get a good piece of land to grow tree tomatoes

The good thing about investing in agribusiness nowadays is that you don’t necessarily have to buy land. You can easily lease land from owners across the nation. The ideal piece of land is one that is fertile and well drained, preferably located in a place with adequate supply of water and relatively calm winds. Make sure you test both the soil and water for suitability in farming. 

This is to say you can plant your tree tomatoes in places like Central Kenya, Western, parts of Nyanza, Taita Taveta and even parts of Rift Valley. The fruits can even grow in semi-arid areas provided there is adequate water to irrigate them (in addition to mulching). Set aside Ksh15,000, on average, for leasing land if you do not have any available.

2. Prepare your land well

Of course the first thing in land preparation is clearing the bushes. This is particularly important in tree tomato farming since this crop is susceptible viral and fungal diseases, many of which are transmitted by pests. Pests hide in weeds hence you must make sure that your farm is absolutely clear before starting your transplanting activity.

The planting hole should be 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep - 2 feet is about 60cm. The holes should be spaced 2m apart and the lines should also be 2m apart. While digging the holes, separate the top soil (about the 1st foot) from the bottom soil. We shall only need to use the top soil so you can discard the bottom soil. Mix the top soil with sufficient amount of compost or animal manure - a soil test will advice you how much you need. Use this mixture to fill back into the hole leaving only a small space that you may use just in case you need to irrigate the trees.

Apart from tilling the land and preparing the holes you may need to buy a water tank. This will come in handy during dry seasons because tree tomatoes require adequate watering at least once a week. A good water tank with 1000 litre capacity will cost you about Ksh15,000

Make sure you read: How To Grow Sweet Fruits And Keep Your Customers Coming Back For More

3. Get quality tree tomato seedlings

Not all tree tomato seedlings are good. Some take too long to grow and their fruits are bitter and unsightly. So at this point you need to look for high quality seedlings. A good variety is the Red Oratia family that only takes 8 months to mature. Red Oratia type is popular because of its great taste and the fact that 97% of the fruit is edible.
Red oratia tree tomato variety
Red Oratia: Best tree tomato variety in Kenya
A seedling goes for Ksh.60 at Richfarm Kenya and other well established nurseries in the country. You can contact Richfarm Naivasha on 0723213602, Richfarm Embu on 0724 698357 to organize for delivery to your farm. An acre of land will require 1,100 seedlings amounting to Ksh66,000. Remember, you can always start small e.g. on 1/8th acre which requires 300 seedlings and thus a smaller budget of Ksh18,000.

Plant your tree tomato seedlings, keep caring for the farm  and wait for about 8 months to get your first fruits ready for consumption and sale. Please download the full Tree Tomato Farming Guide from the Farmers Recourses Page - it is free. Normally, that is the time it takes to see the first fruits. And one more thing, remember to set aside a small budget for insecticides because aphids can sometimes be a bother. (see the sample budget below)

How to go about marketing tree tomatoes

The best deal would be supplying supermarkets. You only need to have a constant production of quality fruits to win mouth watering contracts with supermarkets. Since it is difficult to supply one chain from your farm only, consider joining hands with other farmers around your area.

Market for high quality fruits is available and growing. In fact by the time your first crop matures you will start to receive calls from potential buyers. But due to its high demand and popularity across the country, you can recruit a few sales people retail the fruits in local shopping centers and bus stops.

The Githurai 45 and Marikiti market in Kiambu County, Wakulima Market in Nairobi and the Kongowea Market in Mombasa are also in great shortage of the fruit and you can get very good prices there as well.

How Much To Invest in tree tomato farming

For a small farm like the 1/8 acre one you will require about Ksh20,000 to get started. However, because we always believe in thinking big, we shall give you estimates for 1 acre of land for purposes of planning.

-Leasing Land: Ksh.15,000

-Buying Seedlings: Ksh.66,000

-Farm Labour: Ksh.20,000

-Manure: Ksh.10,000

-Water Tank etc: Ksh.20,000

-Insecticides etc: Ksh.5,000

-Miscellaneous items: Ksh.10,000

1 Acre Total Budget: Ksh.126,000

How Much Earnings To Expect From one Acre of Tree Tomato

Of course, the bigger the land, the better the returns. On average a single tree produces 20 Kilograms of fruit per year (harvested once a week). So using the 1 acre farm as an example and assuming only 1000 out of 1100 trees mature then we can set our realistic expectations on a minimum of Ksh.1,600,000 revenue.

1000 trees x 20 Kgs x 80 (Price per Kilo) = Ksh.1,600,000 per year. (Or Ksh 133,000 per month)

Remember, this is a very minimalistic approach and you can even make more money if you are really serious about it. For instance the price per kilo currently varies at between Ksh100 and Ksh150. Also, the likelihood of losing 200 trees is very low.

Challenges in tree tomato farming

Finding good land, reliable labour with constant water supply and getting good seedlings are some of the challenges to expect. The fruits have to be watered at least once per week during the dry season. And you must get reliable seedlings from established nurseries - reach out to Richfarm Kenya to be safe on that. 
Many farmers might want to do this and hence flood the market and prices may go down (But for now prices are very stable).

Final Word

How many investment opportunities in this world allow you to inject Ksh130,000 to reap Ksh1,600,000 per year? That is why the idea of tree tomato farming in Kenya is a timely one. You can start small today and build onto to bigger things. 

Further Training on Tree Tomato Farming in Kenya

tree tomato farming guide
Tree tomato farming guide by Richfarm Kenya
Just like I have always said, success in farming starts with information. Gather as much information as you can about tree tomato farming in Kenya before setting out on your project.  Visit farmers who have done it and decide on your best methods of marketing beforehand. If you can afford to hire professional help to manage your investments, that would be fantastic.

I suggest that you start off by getting the information in this farming guide. It is in pdf form so you can even read it from your phone. You can now request for it from our Resources Page


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Anonymous said...

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