1.1 Background of the Study
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is one of the most important vegetable crops grown all over Nigeria. It is the world’s largest vegetable crop after potato and sweet potato (Olaniyi et al, 2009). Tomato is an important source of vitamins and minerals and an important cash crop for small-holders and medium-scale commercial farmers.
Tomato production is sensitive to temperature as well as to high acidity. The optimal temperature is 23 - 270c, temperatures lower than 150c or higher than 350c are detrimental to the fruit setting. Tomato grows best in warm temperatures with a lot of light. The quantity and quality of tomato fruits are of crucial importance and are greatly influenced by the fertility and…show more content… Thus there will be more demand for these vegetables with population growth, economic growth and urbanization (Fatch 2009).
Global tomato production increased during the 1920’s as a result of breakthroughs in technologies that made mechanized processing possible (Tan et al, 2010). In Africa, the total tomato production for 2012 was 17.938 million tones with Egypt leading the continent with 8.625 million tons (Arah et al, 2015). The study further concluded that the tomato industry has the ability to increase the export earnings of African countries whilst improving the living standards of the individuals producing it.
Tomato production is currently on the increase in Nigeria partly in recognition of its food values as a source of essential body-building proteins, vitamins and minerals (Vilareal, 1980). The production of bulk of the fresh tomato and pepper fruits in Nigeria is in the Northern part of the country whereas the consumption and utilization is done all over the country (Olayemi et al, 2010).