What are the best hybrid tomato varieties you should grow in 2023?

What are the best hybrid tomato varieties you should grow in 2023?

Tomato farming is a lucrative venture in Kenya, attracting a growing number of farmers due to its high profitability.

However, the success of the tomato farming depends largely on the choice of tomato variety. With numerous options available in the market, it can be overwhelming for farmers to select the best hybrid tomato varieties for their farms.

Challenges in Tomato Farming in Kenya

Like in other crops, tomatoes are also prone to a couple of challenges like;

  • Low yields from the use of inferior recycled seed varieties.
  • Income losses due to the prevalence of tomato diseases such as Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus, tomato mosaic virus, nematodes, verticillium, and fusarium wilt.
  • Post-harvest losses since tomatoes are highly perishable with a short shelf life.
  • Climate change and variability in weather conditions, including extreme dry and wet seasons.
  • Unsuitable tomato characteristics for the processing and export market, such as color, shape, and wall thickness.

Here are the best hybrid varieties you can grow, which are;

  • Ansal
  • Kilele
  • Shanty
  • Terminator
  • Starke Ayres Start
  • Rambo F1

1. Ansal F1

Ansal F1 is a highly recommended hybrid determinate tomato variety produced by Bayer East Africa and marketed under the Seminis brand.

It is known for its excellent foliage cover, which protects the fruits against sunburn, making it ideal for open-field production. Ansal F1 produces elongated and firm deep red fruits with a weight ranging from 100 to 150 grams.

Ansal F1 offers a high yield potential of up to 30 tonnes per acre and has a remarkable shelf life. This variety is resistant to various diseases, including bacterial wilt, fusarium wilt verticillium wilt, and nematodes.

2. Terminator F1

Terminator F1 is a vigorous long-determinate hybrid tomato variety that is highly productive. It produces deep red oval-shaped fruits with a weight of approximately 120 grams. Terminator F1 offers a yield potential of up to 30 tonnes per acre and has a long shelf life of up to 21 days at room temperature.

This variety is resistant to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus , Tomato Mosaic Virus, verticillium wilt, and grey leaf spot.

3. Star 9068 F1

Star 9068 F1 is a semi-determinate tomato hybrid suitable for open-field cultivation.

It matures in approximately 75 days from transplanting and produces fruits with a weight of around 120 grams.

With a yield potential of up to 30 tonnes per acre, Star 9068 F1 offers a long shelf life of up to 21 days at room temperature.
This variety exhibits resistance to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus, Tomato Mosaic Virus, verticillium wilt (Vd&Va), and grey leaf spot.

4. Rambo F1

Rambo F1 is an excellent determinate tomato variety known for its perfect oval shape and tolerance to wilt diseases. It performs well in both cold and hot regions, making it a versatile choice for farmers in various climates. Rambo F1 produces fruits with a weight of approximately 150 grams and offers a high yield potential of up to 30 tonnes per acre. This variety has a very good shelf life, transport quality, and excellent fruit grading. It is resistant to bacterial wilt, fusarium wilt (Fol: 1,2), verticillium wilt (Vd&Va), and nematodes.

5. Other Recommended Hybrid Varieties

Apart from the varieties up here, farmers can also grow other varieties such as Zara F1, Raja F1, Rocky F1, and local varieties like Starke Ayres Rio Grande and Isi Sementi.

Each variety has unique characteristics and disease resistance capability, offering farmers with a wide range of options to choose from, based on their specific requirements and farming conditions.

Tips for Successful Tomato Farming

To ensure successful tomato farming, you need to;

  • Wait for favorable weather conditions. Plant tomatoes when nighttime temperatures are steadily above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and the soil temperature is approaching 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This reduces stress on the plants and promotes better growth.
  • Repot young tomato plants. Before transplanting into the ground, “move up” your young tomato plants into larger pots to prevent root binding. This allows the plants to establish strong root systems and ensures better growth once they are in the ground.
  • Diversify your tomato varieties. Plant a variety of tomato sizes and ripening times to mitigate the risks of weather fluctuations. Consider including cherry tomatoes, paste tomatoes, early ripening full-size tomatoes, and reliable main season tomatoes in your portfolio.
  • Perform thorough inspections. Check the roots of tomato plants before purchasing them to ensure they are not root bound. Transplanting stressed plants can set them back in their growth.
  • Plant at the right time. Late April through June is the ideal planting period for tomatoes in Kenya. By this time, the weather conditions are more favorable, with increased sunlight, warmer nights, and soil temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Consider greenhouse cultivation. Greenhouses provide controlled environments that protect tomato plants from extreme weather conditions and diseases. They can extend the growing season and increase overall productivity.
  • Practice good crop management. Proper fertilization, disease, and pest management are crucial for successful tomato farming. Follow recommended agronomic practices and seek professional advice when necessary.
  • Monitor and maintain soil health. Regularly test and amend the soil to ensure optimal nutrient levels and pH balance for tomato growth. Incorporate organic matter and use appropriate fertilizers to promote healthy plant development.

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