How to open a tomato growing business

* The calculations use the average data for the World

Tomato is one of the most popular vegetables eaten. Cucumbers can be compared with it in popularity. But people began to grow tomatoes relatively recently, if we take the Western culture of course. Tomatoes along with potatoes and chocolate were adopted by Europeans from the Indians, in particular from the Aztecs, who for a long time cultivated those plants that were known in Europe, but were not used in cooking. The word tomato itself is Aztec, showing the origin of this juicy red fruit. The word tomato, used in colloquial speech, denotes the fruit of the tomato plant (and is translated from Italian as "golden apple"). In general, calling a tomato a vegetable is not entirely correct; its fruits, from a botanical point of view, are berries.

This culture is a perennial plant (although there are annual varieties) of the species Solánum lycopérsicum, which is grown practically only for its fruits. Tomatoes used to be considered generally poisonous, but today they are classified as an important part of the diet. But people eat them primarily because of their taste, so a quality tomato should be not only healthy, but also tasty. In order to organize the production of growing huge quantities of tomatoes, you need to build special greenhouses that are configured to maximize the yield of the plant (often to the detriment of the quality characteristics), but first you can organize a business for growing tomatoes in your own garden. If a farmer is already engaged in several crops, then tomatoes will fit perfectly into a multi-field economy and will become a small source of income. The advantage is that it is easy to find distribution channels, tomatoes are not only an ingredient in many dishes, but also the basis of many products, such as juices, ketchups, sauces.

A good product will always be sold, and today it is especially important to offer the consumer a good product directly, because most of the agronomists are engaged in increasing yield. The growth of tomatoes is well influenced by nitrogen fertilizers, they increase the size of the fruits and their number. But at the same time, nitrates accumulate in them, which people do not want to eat with tomatoes. If you manage to grow tasty and non-harmful tomatoes, you can get a competitive advantage over many producers. The main thing in this case will be the consumer to convince that the grown tomato is really safe.

If tomatoes become the first cultivated crop, then in order to sell them in large quantities, registration of a business entity will be required. Tomatoes in small batches can also be sold without taxation by registering your personal subsidiary plots (LPH). But this is not an entrepreneurial activity and has significant restrictions on the volume of goods sold and profit. In fact, even when maintaining a personal subsidiary plots, you can make significant profits, because registering a peasant farm, which is already a business entity, is mandatory only if the use of one hectare of agricultural land is exceeded. And on one hectare you can grow a very large number of tomatoes. And even get a good income. At the same time, there are no significant differences between industrial and subsidiary tomato cultivation; the area, capacity, investment amount and, consequently, profit are increasing. The activity code, surprisingly, is not exactly specified in the classifier, it is best suited (OKPD 2) 08/18/2019 Other fruit and vegetable crops. Thus, tomato is considered precisely as a vegetable crop, not taking into account its botanical features.

Usually summer residents grow tomatoes on several hundred square meters, but several hectares should be used as industrial farming. Together with a tomato, radishes are sometimes planted on the same land at the same time in order to increase income per meter of land. If there is no own land, then it can be rented, the highest price is 3.5 thousand rubles per year per hectare with black soil. If you do not take the southern regions, then the cost of an annual lease may be only 2 thousand rubles, or maybe even less. If intensive cultivation of tomatoes with high yields is planned, then very fertile soil is needed, which in a few years will be very depleted.

It has already been noted that today it is better to bet on a quality product, losing in the number of fruits. There are two types of tomato growing: on the open ground and on the closed, that is, in greenhouses and greenhouses. For business, it is preferable to hothouse cultivation, although in summer and in the warm season it is generally better to temporarily dismantle greenhouses. You can simply grow part of the crop on the open ground, but only at a suitable time of the year, doing the rest of the plants year-round and in greenhouses.

Thus, your plot can be divided into two parts, one of which is allocated for building greenhouses and growing crops at any time of the year, and the second (smaller) for summer cultivation of tomatoes and seasonal sales. The fact is that it is relatively cheap to grow tomatoes on open ground, so in summer you should not miss the chance to get a little more profit. It is also important to determine the varieties of the plant, since tomatoes have a huge number of them, and each variety is adapted to certain climatic conditions. You can also highlight some of the "elite" varieties that give either good yield or fruit with excellent taste, or both. But the seeds of such plants are worth the money, while selling a huge amount of expensive tomatoes may not always work. It is much easier to sell fruits that are simple, familiar in use and having a reasonable price.

Important criteria for selecting seeds are the type of bush growth, the ripening time and the method of consuming the fruit. So, distinguished between deterministic and indeterminate plants, the former are limited in their growth, the latter grow without restriction; the fruit can ripen at different times until late autumn (in the case of greenhouse plants, of course, everything is different); and they use tomatoes not only as fresh fruits, but also subject them to conservation or processing. All this is important to know and, based on known data on the proposed distribution channels and climatic conditions of your region, you can choose the best suitable tomato variety.

The soil for these plants is prepared a year before planting. In order that the plant does not accumulate nitrates, you need to use only organic fertilizers. Technologies of such cultivation are already known to experienced agronomists, so you can consult a knowledgeable farmer who will tell you the right care. An excess of nitrogen is also bad because, first of all, the green parts of the plant begin to grow, and not the fruits, that is, in order to get really many large beautiful and juicy fruits from one bush, you need to make huge quantities of nitrogen fertilizers. That is why a large number of its compounds (nitrates in the first place) accumulate in the plant. This does not mean that nitrogen should be completely excluded when fertilizing the soil, it is necessary at certain periods of the plant’s vegetation (like phosphorus and potassium are also needed in different quantities at different times). The tomato has a fibrous root system that goes deep into the ground, while it is branched enough to effectively absorb the substances needed by the plant. In this regard, the tomato is quite unpretentious to soil conditions, but it is best to plant it after onions, corn or cucumber.

Since the tomato belongs to the nightshade, it is impossible to cultivate it on the land previously occupied by plants of this genus - diseases and pests specific to such plants can clearly manifest. Also, a tomato survives very badly if weeds are planted to it, so they need to be constantly destroyed. But for good growth, this culture needs a lot of sun, but at the same time the absence of drought. Tomato loves sunlight, but not heat, and therefore there should be relatively much moisture. This plant needs to be watered regularly, preventing drying. It can not be called very whimsical, a tomato will yield a crop in case of poor care, but it will be an order of magnitude smaller than with proper cultivation.

In order to sow the plot with tomatoes, you need a special seeder. It can be rented for the duration of the work or purchased in the property - depending on the available budget. In a multidisciplinary farm, as a rule, it is available. Tomatoes are very often planted in seedlings, that is, young seedlings are preliminarily prepared in warm places (for example, in greenhouses) even in the cold season, in order to subsequently transfer them to the soil when the climatic conditions improve. This method is practiced almost everywhere, and only in the south-west of Russia is it possible to grow tomatoes not by seedlings, but by sowing. Preparing seedlings is a rather time-consuming task, but it can significantly reduce the consumption of seeds, because seedlings during seedlings give a much larger number of them. Savings can sometimes be more than double. So, for seedlings on average about 300 grams of seeds per hectare are needed, for sowing - 600 grams. Farmers are forced to grow seedlings, since tomatoes ripen long enough and in open ground they may not complete the process of fruit formation due to the onset of cold weather. Seedlings are sown in greenhouses, optimally selecting the time of plant transfer to the soil. In general, on one hectare, as a result, about 40 thousand plants should fit. The price of one kilogram of seeds varies greatly depending on the variety (varying from 500 rubles to several thousand). The average price can be called 4 thousand rubles per kilogram. Vegetable growers have to spend much less money on the purchase of seed stock than farmers involved in cereals.

And if there are no special difficulties with growing tomatoes on the open ground, then when organizing the cultivation of plants in greenhouses, you need to take into account many parameters. It is very important that gas, light and water are connected to the site. This is necessary for the correct and productive functioning of the greenhouse complex. Tomatoes need water all the time, there should be plenty of light too, and gas serves as fuel for space heating.

Today, greenhouses with a metal frame with a film stretched over it are already considered ineffective. Such greenhouses not only do not provide normal conditions for plants, but also have increased vulnerability to weather, for example, they are not able to protect crops from film hail. Today, farmers are increasingly buying polycarbonate greenhouses, which are no more expensive than classic designs, but provide better plant care. The cost of a greenhouse measuring 625 square meters (25x25) is 60 thousand rubles. One hectare will require exactly 16 such greenhouses. These are practically the largest manufactured typical greenhouses, but they can be made independently or made to order. But you need to remember that in a huge room it is more difficult to maintain a microclimate, therefore it is better to make several greenhouse complexes.

For 16 greenhouses, 960 thousand rubles will be required, but this is not the whole amount for improvement. Heaters are needed in each greenhouse at the rate of one heater per 40 m2 worth 4 thousand rubles each. Ready-made foundations for greenhouses, air vents for regulating air intake, irrigation systems and phytolamps are also sold. All this is purchased at the personal request of the farmer, but all possible additional devices not only make life easier for the grower, but also increase productivity by obtaining good conditions in the greenhouse. Seedlings for the greenhouse are prepared in the winter, so that after the plants grow, transplant them into it.

Performance reports of some vegetable enterprises indicate yields of up to 40 kilograms per square meter. Hypothetically, this is possible if you follow only the idea of ​​a large number of fruits, introducing any fertilizers for this, including harmful ones. You also need to remember that such figures can be obtained in the case of several crops per year, but in many regions of Russia it is very difficult to achieve this even in greenhouses. Therefore, a productivity of 5 kilograms per square meter will be considered quite normal. The main thing is that the tomatoes are of high quality. To confirm this, you can contact the phytosanitary service (Rosselkhoznadzor) to obtain a certificate on the low content of harmful substances in grown fruits. This will allow during the sale to convince the buyer that the tomato he buys is not harmful to health.

It turns out that from one hectare you can collect up to 50 tons of the crop. The price of a kilogram of tomato fruits is very different in summer and winter (which is natural), and therefore, in the warm season, tomatoes can be sold at 30 rubles per kilogram, and in winter - at 200 rubles. Of course, for good varieties and just very tasty fruits, this price is much higher. But even if we take into account only the "summer" price, the income will be about one and a half million rubles. But in the first year, this amount will be fully used to cover the costs associated with organizing the entire business, primarily for the construction of greenhouses.

In subsequent years, spending will be significantly less due to the lack of not only the need to build greenhouse complexes, but also due to the availability of their own seed stock. A large number of greenhouses will allow you to grow different varieties, and if successful, even start breeding new varieties. All this will significantly increase profits and turn their economy into a source of considerable income.

We can say that the cultivation of tomatoes in this country is a fairly cost-effective and promising type of agriculture. Beginning entrepreneurs can first learn how to cultivate this plant on small private farms, so that, after registering in the manner prescribed by law, they begin to conduct full-scale entrepreneurial activities. Tomatoes are consumed by people in large quantities, and the absence of a large number of competitors who care about the quality of their products allows them to enter this market with less risk. Tomatoes can be sold not only through intermediaries (and thus losing a significant percentage of income), but also independently opening their own outlet in the nearest market.

If this type of sales is not suitable, then it is quite possible to establish partnerships with grocery stores that will buy goods in considerable quantities and at the best price. In the end, you can already go to large chains of grocery minimarkets and supermarkets, but for them, as a rule, the presentation of the fruit and the availability of packaging are important. On the other hand, if the tomatoes are beautifully packaged, then with negligible costs for this, you can get a significant increase in price, that is, make a higher margin on the cost. Therefore, there should be no problems with the sale, especially if tasty and healthy fruits were grown.

Matthias Laudanum

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