Shortage of tomato increases price tremendously

Ismat Sabir

Prices of Tomato are Continuously Increasing, Despite Large Imports from Afghanistan and Iran. Presently they are Being Sold at Rs1oo to Rs140 per Kg in Karachi.
Tomato prices Rs120 are also 1 quantity of the fruit imported from Afghanistan, and Iran have failed to keep its price in check. Tomatoes are usually sold at a rate of Rs30 to 40 per kg on normal days in Lahore. However, the ongoing market rate is high in the range of Rs120 to 170, depending on quality, in spite of official rates being set between Rs108 and 114 per kg. Market Committee Inspector Riaz Bhatti said that Pakistan imported tomatoes from Afghanistan and Iran because the local crop was not yet ready.
When Livingston began his attempts to develop the tomato as a commercial crop, his aim had been to grow tomatoes smooth in contour, uniform in size, and sweet in flavor. In 1870, Livingston introduced the Paragon, and tomato culture soon became a great enterprise in the county. He eventually developed over seventeen different varieties of the tomato plant. Today, the crop is grown in every state in the Union.
Escalon, California.
In California, growers have used a method of cultivation called dry farming, especially with Early Girl tomatoes. This technique encourages the plant to send roots deep to find existing moisture in soil that retains moisture, such as clayey soil.
Modern commercial varieties
The poor taste and lack of sugar in modern garden and commercial tomato varieties resulted from breeding tomatoes to ripen uniformly red. This change occurred after discovery of a mutant “u” phenotype in the mid to 20th century. This was widely cross bred to produce red fruit without the typical green ring around the stem on uncrosses bred varieties. Prior to general introduction of this trait, most tomatoes produced more sugar during ripening, and were sweeter and more flavorful.
The tomato is grown worldwide for its edible fruits, with thousands of cultivars. A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5 to 10 is often sold as tomato fertilizer or vegetable fertilizer, although manure and compost are also used.
In 2016, world production of tomatoes was 177 million ton, with China accounting for 32pc of the total, followed by the European Union, India, the United States, and Turkey as the major producers. Global tomato exports were valued at 85 billion US dollars in 2016.
There are around 7,500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes been selected with varying fruit types, and for optimum growth in differing growing conditions?
Tomato varieties can be divided into categories based on shape and size
n Plum tomatoes, or paste tomatoes, including pear tomatoes, are bred with a lower water /higher solids content for use in tomato sauce and paste, for canning and sauces and are usually oblong 7 to 9 cm (3 to 4 in) long and 4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2.0 in) diameter; like the Roma to type tomatoes, important cultivars in the Sacrament to Valley.
n Cherry tomatoes are small and round, often sweet tomatoes, about the same 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 in) size as the wild tomato.
n Grape tomatoes are smaller and oblong, a variation on plum tomatoes.
n Campari tomatoes are sweet and noted for their juiciness, low acidity, and lack of mealiness, bigger than cherry tomatoes, and smaller than plum tomatoes.
n Tom berries, tiny tomatoes, about 5 mm in diameter
n Oxheart tomatoes can range in size up to beefsteaks, and are shaped like large strawberries. Pear are pear to shape and can be based upon the San Marzano types for a richer gourmet paste.
n Slicing or globe tomatoes are the usual tomatoes of commerce, used for a wide variety of processing and fresh eating. The most widely grown commercial tomatoes tend to be in the 5 to 6 cm (2.0 to 2.4 in) diameter range.
Tomatoes are also classified as determinate or indeterminate. Determinate, or bush, types bear a full crop all at once and top off at a specific height; they are often good choices for container growing. Determinate types are preferred by commercial growers who wish to harvest a whole field at one time, or home growers interested in canning. Indeterminate varieties develop into vines that never top off and continue producing until killed by frost. They are preferred by home growers and local market farmers who want ripe fruit throughout the season. As an intermediate form, there are plants sometimes known as vigorous determinate or semi to determinate; these top off like determinates, but produce a second crop after the initial crop. The majority of heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, although some determinate heirlooms exist.
Early tomatoes and cool summer tomatoes bear fruit even where nights are cool, which usually discourages fruit set. There are varieties high in beta carotenes and vitamin A, hollow tomatoes and tomatoes that keep for months in storage. In 1973, Israeli scientists developed the world’s first long shelf to life commercial tomato varieties. Tomatoes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among home gardeners and organic producers, since they tend to produce more interesting and flavorful crops at the cost of disease resistance and productivity.
The definition of an heirloom tomato is vague, but unlike commercial hybrids, all are self fertile varieties that have bred true for 40 years or more. Quite a few seed merchants and banks provide a large selection of heirloom seeds. Home cultivars are often bred for flavor to the exclusion of all other qualities, while commercial cultivars are bred for factors like consistent size and shape, disease and pest resistance, suitability for mechanized picking and shipping, and ability to ripen after picking. Hybrid plants remain common, since they tend to be heavier producers, and sometimes may combine unusual characteristics of heirloom tomatoes with the ruggedness of conventional commercial tomatoes.
Diseases, Pests, and Disorders
Tomato cultivars vary widely in their resistance to disease. Modern hybrids focus on improving disease resistance over the heirloom plants.
Various forms of mildew and blight are common tomato afflictions, which is why tomato cultivars are often marked with a combination of letters that refer to specific disease resistance. The most common letters are: LB – late blight, V – verticillium wilt, F – fusarium wilt strain I, FF – fusarium wilt strain I and II, N – nematodes, T – tobacco mosaic virus, and A – alternaria.
Some common tomato pests are stink bugs, cutworms, tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms, aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, flea beetles, red spider mite, slugs, and Colorado potato beetles. The tomato russet mite, Aculops lyc-opersici, feeds on foliage and young fruit of tomato plants, causing shrivelling and necrosis of leaves, flowers, and fruit, possibly killing the plant.
A common tomato disease is tobacco mosaic virus. Handling cigarettes and other infected tobacco products can transmit the virus to tomato plants.
Another particularly dreaded disease is curly top, carried by the beet leafhopper, which interrupts the lifecycle. As the name implies, it has the symptom of making the top leaves of the plant wrinkle up and grow abnormally.
After an insect attack tomato plants produce system in, a plant peptide hormone . Systemin activates defensive mechanisms, such as the production of protease inhibitors to slow the growth of insects. The hormone was first identified in tomatoes, but similar proteins have been identified in other species since.
Although not a disease as such, irregular supplies of water can cause growing or ripening fruit to split. Besides cosmetic damage, the splits may allow decay to start, although growing fruits have some ability to heal after a split. In addition, a deformity called cat to facing can be caused by pests, temperature stress, or poor soil conditions. Affected fruit usually remains edible, but its appearance may be unsightly.
Companion Plants
Among the most famous pairings is the tomato plant and carrots; studies supporting this relationship have produced a popular book about companion planting, Carrots Love Tomatoes.
The devastating tomato hornworm has a major predator in various parasitic wasps, whose larvae devour the hornworm, but whose adult form drinks nectar from tiny to flowered plants like umbel lifers. Several species of umbellifer are therefore often grown with tomato plants; including parsley, Queen Anne’s lace, and occasionally dill. These also attract predatory flies that attack various tomato pests. These plants may also subtly affect the flavor of tomato fruit.
Hydroponic and Greenhouse Cultivation
Tomatoes are often grown in greenhouses in cooler climates, and cultivars such as the British ‘Moneymaker’ and a number of cultivars grown in Siberia are specifically bred for indoor growing. In more temperate climates, it is not uncommon to start seeds in greenhouses during the late winter for future transplant.
Greenhouse tomato production in large acreage commercial greenhouses and owner to operator stand to alone or multiple bay greenhouses is on the increase, providing fruit during those times of the year when field to grown fruit is not readily available. Smaller sized fruit cherry and grape, or cluster tomatoes (fruit to on to the two vines) are the fruit of choice for the large commercial greenhouse operators while the beefsteak varieties are the choice of owner to operator growers.
Picking and Ripening
To facilitate transportation and storage, tomatoes are often picked unripe (green) and ripened in storage with ethylene. Unripe tomatoes are firm. As they ripen they soften until reaching the ripe state where they are red or orange in color and slightly soft to the touch. Ethylene is a hydrocarbon gas that many fruits produce, which acts as the molecular cue to begin the ripening process. Tomatoes ripened in this way tend to keep longer, but have poorer flavor and a mealier, starchier texture than tomatoes ripened on the plant. They may be recognized by their color, which is more pink or orange than the other ripe tomatoes’ deep red, depending on variety.
A machine harvestable variety of tomato, the square tomato, was developed in the 1950s by University of California tomato growing industry. This type of tomato is grown commercially near plants that process and can tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. They are harvested when ripe and are flavorful when picked. They are harvested 24 hours a day, seven days a week during a 12 to 14 to week season, and immediately transported to packing plants, which operate on the same schedule. California is a center of this sort of commercial tomato production and produces about a third of the processed tomatoes produced in the world.
In 1994, Cal gene introduced a genetically modified tomato called the FlavrSavr, which could be vine ripened without compromising shelf life. However, the product was not commercially successful, and was sold only until 1997. Slow to ripening cultivars of tomato have been developed by crossing a non to ripening cultivar with ordinary cultivars.
The world dedicated 4.8 million hectares in 2012 for tomato cultivation and the total production was about 161.8 million ton. The average world farm yield for tomato was 33.6 ton per hectare, in 2012.
Tomato farms in the Netherlands were the most productive in 2012, with a nationwide average of 476 ton per hectare, followed by Belgium (463 ton per hectare) and Iceland (429 ton per hectare.
As of 2008, the heaviest tomato harvested, weighed 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), was of the cultivar Delicious, and was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. The largest tomato plant grown was of the cultivar Sun gold and reached 19.8 m (65 ft) in length, grown by Nutriculture Ltd (UK) of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK, in 2000.
Stuffed tomatoes, stuffed with hardboiled egg and Parmesan, though it is botanically a berry, a subset of fruit, the tomato is a vegetable for culinary purposes because of its savory flavor.
Although tomatoes originated in the Americas, they have become extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine. They are a key ingredient in pizza, and are commonly used in pasta sauces. They are also used in gazpacho, Spanish cuisine, and pa amb tomàquet (Catalan cuisine).
The tomato is now grown and eaten around the world. It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads or in slices, stewed, incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, or processed into ketchup or tomato soup. Unripe green tomatoes can also be breaded and fried, used to make salsa, or pickled. Tomato juice is sold as a drink, and is used in cocktails such as the Bloody Mary.
Tomatoes keep best unwashed at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. It is not recommended to refrigerate them as this can harm the flavor. Tomatoes stored cold tend to lose their flavor permanently. Storing stem down can prolong shelf life, as it may keep from rotting too quickly. Tomatoes that are not yet ripe can be kept in a paper bag till ripening.
Tomatoes are easy to preserve whole, in pieces, as tomato sauce or paste by home canning. They are acidic enough to process in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as most vegetables require. The fruit is also preserved by drying, often in the sun, and sold either in bags or in jars with oil.
Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material.
A sign posted at a Havelock, North Carolina Burger King telling customers no tomatoes are available due to the 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak, may have been involved.
A tomato is 95pc water, contains 4 percent carbohydrates and less than 1 percent each of fat and protein. In a 100 gram amount, raw tomatoes supply 18 calories and are a moderate source of vitamin C (17 percent of the Daily Value), but otherwise are absent of significant nutrient content .
Potential Health Effects
No conclusive evidence indicates that the lycopene in tomatoes or in supplements affects the onset of cardiovascular diseases or cancer.
In the United States, supposed health benefits of consuming tomatoes, tomato products or lycopene to affect cancer cannot be mentioned on packaged food products without a qualified health claim statement. In a scientific review of potential claims for lycopene favorably affecting DNA, skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation, heart function and vision, the European Food Safety Authorityconcluded that the evidence for lycopene having any of these effects was inconclusive.
In Ontario, Canada, member of provincial parliament Mike Colle introduced a private member’s bill in March 2016 to name the tomato as the official vegetable of the province and to designate 15 July as Tomato Day, in order to acknowledge the tomato’s importance in Ontario’s agriculture. The bill did not pass in the legislature and no official designations were made. Several US states have adopted the tomato as a state fruit or vegetable.
Pakistan does not like to consume tomatoes imported from India
Indian farmers say that they would not export their tomatoes to Pakistan in response to the attack on Indian armed forces in Pulwama that left 40 dead has been floating about that Digital wanted to check how much we actually need these tomatoes.
On February 20, a video clip of Indian farmers and vegetable suppliers in Madhya Pradesh made rounds on social media in which they said they will be stopping the export of tomatoes to Pakistan in wake of the Pulwama attack.
But what they forgot is that Pakistan had already banned the import of tomatoes and potatoes, along with other vegetables, from India. The import of the product was banned for three years because of the diseases they carry.
Tomato export to Pakistan is baseless. Not only Pakistan but the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait had also put a ban on vegetables coming from India due to the Nipah virus,” Patron to in to Chief of the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Importers Association Waheed Ahmed told SAMAA Digital.
We Don’t Need Your Tomatoes, Punjab Agriculture Minister Tells India
Not even kilograms of tomatoes were imported from India in the last three years ever since the department of plant protection stopped issuing import permits for Indian vegetables. He said that even India is not consuming the tomatoes it grows because of the virus and the country depends on imported tomatoes.
Indian tomatoes have been infected with five types of diseases and viruses the Nipah virus, leaf curl New Delhi virus, tomato yellow leaf curl virus, aspermy virus and mosaic virus, said Ahmed.
In 2017, when the ban had already been imposed in Pakistan, then federal minister for food security Sikandar Hayat Bosan had announced that Pakistan would be using the locally produced vegetables despite the crisis. He made it clear that the government would not import vegetables from India. Pakistan is an agrarian country and we have been producing enough tomatoes locally, said Bosan on October 3, 2017.
The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) had hailed Bosan’s announcement of not importing tomatoes from India, saying that the move would help local farmers and save foreign exchange for Pakistan.
Tomato Crisis: How it has different meanings for Pakistan and India
The LCCI president, Abdul Basit, had said that the country has the resources to feed its entire population. Therefore, local growers should be facilitated and their issues should be resolved on a priority basis.”
But there was another reason for the ban on the import of vegetables from India. Ties between the two countries took a bitter turn after the January 2016 Pathankot attack and the Uri incident in September the same year. India blamed terrorists based in Pakistan for these attacks.
After the ban on tomatoes, Punjab food minister Bilal Yaseen, who was also the chairperson stakeholder of the Punjab Food Authority, announced on December 7, 2017 that, local farmers have been encouraged after the ban on imports of Indian vegetables and Pakistan has remitted Rs10 billion worth of foreign exchange from July to November in lieu of not importing tomatoes from the Eastern rival. The minister was quoted as saying that this was a blessing in disguise.
A recent shortage of tomatoes has led to an increase in their price from Rs130 to Rs160 per kg in Pakistan. A supervisor at, Muhammad Ali, told SAMAA Digital that tomato prices are rising as the vegetable is not ripening in Balochistan due to cold temperatures.
The local tomato onion crop has been damaged due to the change in weather which caused a shortage in supply and a hike in prices, said Ali. He said the supply usually starts from Mirpurkhas and Badin in March while the crop growth starts decreasing in Thatta and Lasbela.
He added that the prices are likely to decrease when supply from upper Sindh and Larkana increases. He said that the rate lists will be revised and tomatoes will then be purchased at Rs50 to Rs60 per kg.
Tomato belongs to solanaceae family. It is one of the very popular vegetables in Pakistan. It is widely used in salad as well as for culinary purposes. The popularity of tomato and its products continue to rise as it contains significant amount of vitamin A and C.
Trends, Area, Production and Yield
There has been a progressive increase in area and production of tomato in Pakistan. In 2004 to 05, the area increased to 41.4 thousand hectares, production 426.2 thousand tons and yield was 10.3 tons / ha. The data since 1999 to 00 are as follows.
Time of Sowing
Due to varying climatic conditions, there is a wide range of sowing time of tomato in Pakistan. There are three main crops that are as under.
The average shares of the provinces in the over all area and production of tomato, based on the data of 2004 to 05, are given in the table.
Early Crop
For early crop, nursery is sown in July to August, transplanted in the field in August to September and the harvesting of the crop starts in November.
Mid-Season Crop
Nursery is sown in September, which is transplanted in October and harvested in December/January.
Main Season Crop
Nursery is sown in mid to November, transplanted in February and the crop is harvested in May to June.
Seed Rate and Nursery Rising
300 350 g seed is required to prepare nursery for one hectare. Seed is sown in rationed beds prepared with a growing media of farm yard manure, soil and sand with the ratio of 1:1:1 and covered with thin polyethylene sheet. The seeds will germinate in 7 to 14 days. Remove polyethylene sheet after seed germination.
The seedlings should be harvested to withstand the out to door conditions with as little shock as possible. The hardening may be accomplished by lessening water supply. The process may require 7 to 10 days. The seedlings are transplanted on the both sides of 1.5 meter wide beds with a distance of 50 cm on the rows.
The plants are irrigated just after transplanting. Irrigation with an interval of 7 to 8 days is recommended. The irrigation interval can be decreased from 5 to 6 days when weather is too hot. Irrigation water should be given with care so that beds should not be submerged into water.
Manure and Fertilizers
In tomato crop, high yield can be obtained only if well balanced fertilizers and manure are supplied to the plants in time. Well rotten farm yard manure should be applied at the rate of 25 to 30 tons per hectare, at the time of land preparation for maintaining proper physical conditions and fertility status of the soil. General recommendation for chemical fertilizers is 75 kg of nitrogen, 60 kg of phosphorus and 60 kg of potassium. Half amount of all fertilizers and full amount of farm yard manure are incorporated into the soil at time of land preparation. Remaining half amount of fertilizers is split into two doses and applied as side dressing to the plants one month after transplanting and after first picking of fruit.
The stage of ripeness at which the tomatoes are harvested depends upon the purpose for which they are grown. For canning and processing, the fruit is harvested when it is fully ripened on the vines. For local markets, it is harvested in the hard ripe and pink stages. For the distant markets, the fruit is picked in the mature green or turning pink stage. For the home use, tomato may be left on the plants until they are fully colored.
Tomatoes can be kept for storage for only a short period of 7 to 10 days. Fruits picked at semi to ripe stage and placed in well ventilated store with low humidity and at 1.1 to 2.2 °C will remain fit for human consumption for about three weeks.

Tomato Diseases
Fusarium Wilt
It is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporium f. lycopercici. It is characterized by a yellowing and drying of the leaves progressively from the base upward, and by discoloration of the vascular tissue. It is controlled by the use of diseased resistant cultivars and disease free seed. The planting should be done on disease free beds. The crop rotation should be followed and diseased plants should be disposed of.
Bacterial Wilt
It is caused by Pseudomonas solanacearum. The diseased plants wilt during the day and partially recover at night. Freshly cut stems exude a gummy, yellow mass of bacteria. It can be controlled by planting disease free plants, removal of diseased plants and following crop rotation.
Early blight
Early blight is caused by Alternaria solani, the fungus that causes early blight in potatoes. To control it, sow only treated seed from disease free plants, practice sanitation by deep ploughing and follow crop rotation.
Damping off
It attacks nursery seedlings at the surface of the soil, causing the stems to shrivel and the plants to topple over. Treat the seed with thiram and avoid over irrigation.
Viral diseases
The important viral diseases of tomatoes are tobacco mosaic virus and cucumber mosaic virus. The diseases are highly infectious and readily spread by insects and cultural operations. Sanitation and control of vectors can reduce the spread of viruses.

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