Cherry tomato farming in india
Cherry tomatoes are small, round, and sweet-tasting tomatoes that are popular worldwide. India is also no stranger to this crop, and many farmers are taking up cherry tomato cultivation due to the high demand and good market prices. In this article, we will explore the details of cherry tomato cultivation in India, including the soil and climate requirements, cultivation practices, challenges, and opportunities.
Soil and Climate Requirements : Cherry tomatoes require well-drained soil with a pH level of 6.0 to 6.8. The soil should be rich in organic matter, and farmers should avoid waterlogging and heavy soils. Cherry tomatoes also require full sunlight and warm temperatures for optimum growth. The ideal temperature range for cherry tomato cultivation is between 20°C to 30°C.
Cultivation Practices & Land preperation: Cherry tomato cultivation in India can be done either in open fields or in protected environments like greenhouses or polyhouses. In open fields, farmers should prepare the soil by plowing and adding organic manure. The seeds can be sown directly into the soil or transplanted from seedlings. Farmers should ensure proper irrigation, fertilization, and pest control measures for healthy plant growth.
In protected environments like greenhouses or polyhouses, farmers can control the temperature, humidity, and light intensity, which can result in higher yields and better quality tomatoes. The use of drip irrigation and fertigation can also be optimized in these controlled environments for efficient nutrient delivery.
Row preperation and Planting : The distance between rows and plants in cherry tomato cultivation in open fields depends on several factors such as the type of soil, climate, and the specific variety of cherry tomato being grown. However, a general guideline is to space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart in rows that are 3 to 4 feet apart. This spacing allows each plant to have enough room to grow and receive adequate sunlight and air circulation. Adequate spacing also helps prevent diseases and allows for easy access to the plants for pruning, harvesting, and pest management. It is important to consult with local agricultural experts to determine the ideal spacing for cherry tomato cultivation in your specific region.
Plant density : In general, for a standard spacing of 60cm between rows and 45cm between plants, the average number of plants per acre can range from around 9,000 to 12,000.
Irrigation: Cherry tomato plants require regular watering to thrive. The frequency of irrigation depends on several factors such as climate, soil type, and stage of growth. In general, the plants should be watered deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth. In the initial stages, the plants may need to be watered daily, especially during hot and dry weather. As the plants mature, the frequency of watering can be reduced to once every 2-3 days, but the plants should be monitored for signs of drought stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves. It is important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other problems. Additionally, it is recommended to use drip irrigation or other methods that minimize water contact with the foliage to prevent the spread of diseases.
Plant management :
- Stake or trellis the plants: Cherry tomato plants are typically staked or trellised to keep them upright and support the weight of the fruit. This also helps to improve air circulation around the plants, reducing the risk of disease.
- Pinch out suckers: Cherry tomato plants produce suckers, which are small shoots that grow between the main stem and the branches. Pinching out the suckers helps to control the size and shape of the plant, and directs more energy into fruit production.
- Remove lower leaves: As the plants grow, remove the lower leaves that are yellowing or touching the ground. This helps to prevent disease and improve air circulation.
- Prune for density: Depending on the variety, cherry tomato plants can become quite dense and bushy. Pruning some of the leaves and branches can help to open up the plant and improve light penetration, leading to better fruit quality and yield.
- Regular maintenance: It’s important to regularly inspect the plants for any signs of disease or pest infestation, and remove any affected leaves or fruit. Also, adjust the trellising or staking as necessary to support the growing plants.
Harvesting and Yield : Cherry tomatoes take around 70 to 80 days from planting to harvesting. Farmers should harvest the fruits when they are fully ripe and have a bright red color. The yield of cherry tomatoes can vary depending on the cultivation practices, but on average, farmers can expect a yield of around 12 to 15 tonnes per acre.
Marketing : Cherry tomatoes have good market demand in India, and farmers can sell their produce in local markets, supermarkets, and online marketplaces. The demand for cherry tomatoes is especially high in the urban areas, where they are used for salads, garnishes, and other culinary applications. Farmers can also explore exporting cherry tomatoes to other countries, which can result in higher prices.
Challenges : Cherry tomato cultivation in India is not without its challenges. The high susceptibility to pests and diseases, particularly fruit flies, can lead to significant crop losses. The lack of access to quality seeds and inputs and the unorganized nature of the market can also be challenging for small-scale farmers.
Opportunities : Despite the challenges, cherry tomato cultivation in India has several opportunities for growth and expansion. The growing demand for cherry tomatoes in the domestic and international markets, coupled with the advancements in farming practices and technology, presents a significant opportunity for farmers to increase their income. The government’s support in terms of subsidies, training programs, and infrastructure development can also help farmers to overcome the challenges and benefit from cherry tomato cultivation.
Yield per acre : The yield per acre of cherry tomato cultivation can vary depending on several factors such as the variety of cherry tomato, soil quality, climate, and farming practices. On average, the yield per acre of cherry tomatoes can range from 15,000 to 25,000 pounds per acre. However, with proper care and management, some farmers have reported yields of up to 30,000 pounds per acre. It’s essential to note that the yield can vary significantly, and farmers must take proper care of their plants to maximize their productivity.
Propagation : To propagate cherry tomatoes from seeds, the first step is to select a healthy and ripe tomato fruit. Remove the seeds from the fruit and let them dry on a paper towel for a few days. Once the seeds are dry, they can be sown in small pots or seed trays filled with a good quality potting mix. Keep the soil moist and warm, and the seeds will germinate within a week or two. Once the seedlings have grown a few inches tall, they can be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the ground.
Yield per acre : on average, each cherry tomato plant can produce between 100 to 150 tomatoes per season, and the yield can range from 3 to 5 kg per plant. Therefore, with 9000 plants per acre, the total yield can be estimated to be between 27,000 to 45,000 kg per acre. However, it is important to note that this is just an estimation and actual yield may vary.
Area of cultivation
- Maharashtra: The climate and soil conditions of regions like Nashik, Pune, and Ahmednagar are suitable for cherry tomato cultivation.
- Karnataka: The state of Karnataka is a major producer of cherry tomatoes, with regions like Bangalore, Mysore, and Tumkur being ideal for cultivation.
- Andhra Pradesh: The Guntur, Kurnool, and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh are well-suited for open-field cherry tomato cultivation.
- Tamil Nadu: The climate of Tamil Nadu is ideal for cherry tomatoes, with regions like Coimbatore and Madurai being popular for cultivation.
- Punjab: The state of Punjab is another major producer of cherry tomatoes, with regions like Amritsar and Ludhiana being suitable for cultivation.
- Gujarat: The state of Gujarat has several regions that are suitable for cherry tomato cultivation, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Surat.
Fertilizer schedule for cherry tomato cultivation
- Pre-planting: Apply a basal dose of 20-25 tons of farmyard manure or compost per acre before planting. Mix the manure or compost with the soil to a depth of 30-40 cm.
- Seedling stage: Once the seedlings have emerged, apply a light dose of nitrogen fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate, at the rate of 30 kg per acre. Apply the fertilizer in a band 10 cm away from the seedlings, and water the plants immediately after fertilizing.
- Vegetative growth stage: When the plants reach a height of 30-45 cm, apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 14-14-14, at the rate of 75-100 kg per acre. Apply the fertilizer in a band around the plants, 10-15 cm away from the stems, and water the plants immediately after fertilizing.
- Flowering and fruiting stage: As the plants start to produce flowers and fruit, switch to a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer, such as 0-52-34, at the rate of 75-100 kg per acre. Apply the fertilizer in a band around the plants, 10-15 cm away from the stems, and water the plants immediately after fertilizing.
- Late-season: In the final month before harvest, reduce fertilizer application to prevent excessive vegetative growth that can reduce fruit quality. Apply a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus and potassium fertilizer, such as 0-45-0 or 0-20-30, at the rate of 50-75 kg per acre. Apply the fertilizer in a band around the plants, 10-15 cm away from the stems, and water the plants immediately after fertilizing.
Varieties & Yield per plant
- Cherry Grande – This variety produces large, bright red tomatoes with a sweet flavor. The yield per plant can range from 150 to 200 fruits per season.
- Cherry Roma – These are oval-shaped tomatoes with a deep red color and a rich flavor. The yield per plant can range from 120 to 150 fruits per season.
- Cherry Sweetie – This variety produces small, sweet, and juicy tomatoes. The yield per plant can range from 200 to 250 fruits per season.
- Cherry Sun Gold – These tomatoes are bright orange in color and have a sweet and tangy flavor. The yield per plant can range from 150 to 200 fruits per season.
- Cherry Black – This variety produces small, round tomatoes with a dark purplish-black color and a sweet, rich flavor. The yield per plant can range from 120 to 150 fruits per season.
Cost and Profit from cherry tomato cultivation in one acre in India
|Item||Cost per acre (in INR)|
|Total cost of cultivation||140,000|
Assuming an average yield of 10-12 tons per acre, the total revenue from the sale of cherry tomatoes would be around 1,200,000-1,440,000 INR (assuming a selling price of 100-120 INR per kg).
Therefore, the profit from one acre of cherry tomato cultivation in India would be around 1,060,000-1,300,000 INR (excluding overheads and taxes). However, these numbers are subject to change and can vary depending on several factors such as market demand, quality of produce, and prices of inputs.
Challenges Faced by farmers in Selling Cherry tomatoes in the marketin
- Price volatility: The price of cherry tomatoes is highly volatile in the market due to fluctuations in demand and supply. This makes it difficult for farmers to predict the price and plan their sales accordingly.
- Seasonality: Cherry tomatoes are seasonal crops, and their availability in the market is limited to a few months. This creates a demand-supply gap, and farmers have to compete with other farmers during the peak season.
- Transportation and storage: Cherry tomatoes are delicate fruits that require proper transportation and storage to avoid spoilage. Farmers often face challenges in transporting their produce to distant markets and maintaining its quality during storage.
- Competition from imported produce: India imports cherry tomatoes from other countries like the Netherlands, Spain, and Israel. This creates competition for Indian farmers and affects their profitability.
- Lack of market linkages: Farmers often face challenges in finding buyers for their produce. This results in lower prices for their produce, affecting their profitability.
- Lack of grading and standardization: The lack of grading and standardization in the cherry tomato market results in lower prices for farmers. Buyers often pay less for ungraded and non-standardized produce.
- Price negotiation: Farmers often have to negotiate prices with middlemen, who may offer low prices for their produce. This results in lower profitability for farmers.
- Can cherry tomatoes be grown in all regions of India?
- Cherry tomatoes can be grown in most regions of India with proper management practices and suitable soil and climate conditions.
- What are some popular cherry tomato varieties grown in India?
- Some popular cherry tomato varieties grown in India include Sweet 100, Sun Gold, Juliet, and Cherry Cascade.
- How often should cherry tomato plants be fertilized?
- Cherry tomato plants should be fertilized every two