Lufuno Managa, Mukondeni, Limpopo (Tomatoes)
We plant about 20ha of tomatoes a year, which are mostly earmarked for the informal trader market. Our clients are from various parts of the country, mainly here in Limpopo, but some as far away as Durban.
We also have a contract with Tiger Brands, to whom we supply every month from a dedicated 2ha field. We plant tomatoes every month from December to July and then switch to other crops, like watermelon and butternut, until December, when we start the tomatoes again.
This year we had to delay planting to 12 January due to the rain. These tomatoes are due to be harvested in April. We have planted the Emerald variety, which is a hardier tomato with a longer shelf life.
A longer shelf life is vital for our clients in the informal market. We’ve also started planting the H1015 variety from Riverside Nursery for our Tiger Brands contract.
Tiger Brands uses this variety for its tomato paste processing. They want ripe tomatoes. After we have had our soil analysed, we prepare the land by ploughing, discing and ridging.
We then apply 9-9-9, a balanced, pelletised fertiliser that contains 11% iron and 10.5% sulphur and helps with soil alkalinity and iron deficiency. We then set up our drip irrigation system so that we can start irrigating before we plant.
In the second month after planting, we apply potassium nitrate at a rate of 100kg/ha for bigger and firmer fruit. On 21 March, we are due to plant the HM777 variety.