Farmers can now beat poor prices and accruing losses resulting from rotting of tomatoes by growing a hybrid variety from Syngenta that allows for up to one month selling window.
The skin of Tylka F1 remains firm for up to 28 days before it start to degenerate in shape.
A Kenyatta University study of 2015 established that rotting due to delayed access to markets and slow consumption rate causes up to 31 per cent loss.
Syngenta Agronomist Maureen Namusonge said farmers will have plenty of time to locate close and further markets.
“The variety is for open field and greenhouse propagation. It has been bred to help farmers earn back their investment. Its skin remains firms for more than three weeks after ripening. Even slow selling groceries can manage to dispose of the produce on time,” she said during the 2016 Mombasa International Agricultural Society of Kenya Show.
The 100 Tylka F1 plants in the Syngenta demonstration plot at the Mkoma Show Ground, Mombasa, have fruits at varied development stages.
They were transplanted on June 15, 2016. By August 17, the farm caretaker, Joram Kaindi, said the first fruits were ripe.
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Each of the tomato plants has more than 25 fruits. Sampled fruits weighed between 130g and 140g.
At least seven tonnes are expected from the 100 plants by the end of the four-month harvesting period, Namusonge said.
While the lower fruits are ready for harvesting, the shoot is still generating flowers. This calls for strong staking to support the seven feet plant.
Regular pruning must be done to ensure that one productive shoot is maintained for fewer quality fruits.
“Many side twigs reduce the food available for high quality fruits. Maintaining the main stem eases staking as well as light penetration,” she said.
This oval-shaped variety does well in the open field and in greenhouses. It can yield between 70 tonnes and 78 tonnes per acre.
PHOTO: Syngenta demonstration farm officer Joram Kaindi tenders to the Tylka F1 tomatoes at Mkoma Show Ground, Mombasa, on September 2, 2016. The hybrid remain ripe for one month,,therefore, allowing for more time for sale. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.