Bunda. Current high tomato prices are a blessing for farmers, who are cashing in on decreased supply of the commodity.
Growers in Bunda and Busega districts in Mara and Simiyu regions, respectively, are earning millions from tomatoes.
With a 100kg crate fetching about Sh100,000 in farms, growers in several villages in Bunda and Busega are laughing all the way to the bank.
The Bulamba Farmers Group at Butimba Ward in Bunda District, which grows tomatoes on a one-acre farm, for instance, has earned Sh4.5 million after selling 45 crates from its maiden harvest of the crop.
The group’s chairman, Mr Abiud Masige, said they expect to harvest around 500 crates of tomatoes this season, meaning that the eight members will earn a total of at least Sh50 million if current prices prevail
“Earning Sh50 million through selling tomatoes grown on a one-acre farm will be a dream come true,” Mr Masige said, and thanked the Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for championing smart horticulture farming.
When the group applied traditional methods to grow the same crop, it harvested around 64 crates, earning it Sh1.3 million per season, owing to low productivity, poor technology and lack of reliable markets.
Better productivity has attracted nearly 20 nearby farmers, who are keen not only in joining the thriving Bulamba Farmers Group, but also in sharing the benefits.
“We expect to harvest over 500 crates of tomatoes. With the prevailing farm gate price of Sh100,000 per crate, we’ll earn Sh50 million come the end of the season,” said the chairman of Wajasiriamali Farmers Group at Lukungu Village, Lamadi Ward in Busega District, Mr Masunga Nshashi.
Mr Ismail Mohamed, who grows tomatoes by applying traditional methods on his two-acre farm, expects to harvest barely 100 crates worth Sh8 million, contrary to farmers who are under Taha support.
He invested almost Sh4.2 million in seeds, irrigation, pesticides and fertiliser.