Colombia has 16,725 hectares dedicated to tomato production in 24 departments, according to Procolombia figures. Despite having a good production volume, the entity stated, the country needs to improve the quality of its tomatoes to export them. That's why the cultivation of this product is being subjected to scientific research and improvements with the aim of starting exports to the United States.
“Tomato is one of the most popular fruits worldwide. Colombia's high production volume allows the country to export this product to countries such as the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Ecuador, and Spain. The United States has shown interest, but we still must continue working on certain issues, such as the control of certain parasites, to meet the standards that this country demands,” said Carlos Sepulveda, fruit and vegetable cultivation consultant at the chemical company Basf.
Like any crop, tomato must meet certain requirements to be exported and this requires more than just conducting crop maintenance. Producers must also take care of the nutrients in the vegetable, a fundamental step when sowing it. According to experts, the fertilization process must be taken into account when sowing quality tomatoes, especially if you plan to export the product to several international markets.
“Mineral fertilizers are essential for tomato cultivation because it ensures the nutritional quality that the consumer expects to receive. In addition, if this process is done well, it contributes to improving the safety and shelf life of this product,” said Miguel Amado, Agronomy Manager for Colombia at Yara.
Recommendations to improve the quality of tomato crops
Several factors must be taken into account to improve the quality of tomato production. It's important that producers verify that the tomato seeds they select to grow this crop are certified by ICA, as this guarantees a good yield. It is also important to verify their adaptation to the terrain.
Diseases such as bacterial speck or pests like the pinworm are common in tomatoes, so producers should always have the necessary products to control them at hand. Nematodes must also be controlled.
Weeds must be kept at bay, as they are harmful to the crop. That is why experts recommend working the soil with herbicides and scythes before cultivating the tomatoes.
Producers must also be very careful when transporting the tomatoes and they should be treated with a protective bath against fungi and bacteria before being transported.