GFAR blog

YAP Proposal #243: Tomato farm (Onyemeka Michael, Nigeria)

Onyemeka Regland (2)

Personal Statement

I am Onyemeka Regland Michael, the first son of Mr Onyemeka Longinus (building contractor) and Mrs Onyemeka Celine (a grocer). I am 27 years old. I hail from the Aggah-Egbema area of Rivers State, Nigeria and I reside in Lagos, Nigeria.

I have a degree in Botany from Lagos State University, Nigeria and several certificates on entrepreneurship management from Pan Atlantic University, Nigeria, and Youth empowerment and ICT from the Tony Elumelu Foundation. I am an Agripreneur with uncompromisin passion for self-reliance and creating job opportunities.

I have 5 years of farm management experience which I gained from my family farm and school projects. I bred tomatoes for varietal development and the findings were presented at the African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA) on December 3, 2013 at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi Kenya by Dr S.C.O, Makinde.

I was among the inaugural 1000 African Entrepreneurs selected by the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program and the top 50 Innovative entrepreneurs in Nigeria selected by diamond bank.

My Youth Agripreneurs Project

My project is to make use of sustainable practices, techniques and best varieties/hybrids to produce high quality, long shelf-life fresh tomatoes all year round. Tomato constitutes 8% of the daily vegetable intake by Nigerians. The demand for tomato by the 170 million and growing Nigerian population is estimated at 2.3 million metric tons per year, while Nigeria produces only 1.701 million ton of tomato annually.

Nigeria spends over N11 billion (USD $55 million) annually on tomatoes and tomato paste importation, making it the 8th largest importer of tomato paste in the world despite being the second largest producer in Africa and fourteenth in the world.

This state of affairs is a result of a dysfunctional agricultural value chain system that culminates in about 50% of the nation’s local produce being lost during harvest. Therefore there is a need for better forms of storage.  According to Manufacturing Today, trucks of tomato come into Nigerian markets from Ghana and Benin Republic daily to try to meet up with the demand.

Motivation and socio-economic impact in my community

Nigeria is a populous nation. Food is one of the basic necessities of man. Nothing is more important than food. A nation that does not feed itself becomes a threat to its own sovereign existence. This project will contribute to increased supply of tomato within my community thereby contributing to food security.

Also, agribusiness has proven itself in many nations to create more job opportunities than any other sector of the economy. This project will therefore create job opportunities for those in rural areas where our farms are located. The people we hire will become economically engaged, thereby shunning the illegal acts of hostage-taking, kidnapping, bombing, vandalism and homelessness in our country.

Project execution

The project will be carried out on 5 acres of leased land equipped with irrigation. The expected duration is one year. Tomato takes between 90-120 days to mature. Therefore there will be two growing seasons during the project.

The procedure required involves:

Land preparation: The farmland is cleared and ploughed in using a tractor.  Farmyard manure is then sprayed on the ploughed farmland and left for fifteen days before it is re-ploughed.

Nursery preparation: This is usually done at the same time as land preparation. The beds are prepared, watered and seeds are sown on the bed. The nursery is then shaded lightly to prevent burning. The seedlings are watered lightly for 15-20 days before being transplanted to the field.

Transplanting: This involves moving the seedlings from the nursery to the field, usually in the evening.

Fertilizer application: This is done two weeks after transplanting.

Pest management:  These are controlled at two-week intervals pesticides depending on the associated pest.

Harvesting: Tomato is harvested 80-120 days after transplanting and packed in the shed.

What has been done so for the project?

Onyemeka ReglandThe agribusiness has been registered as business name with the Cooperate Affairs Commission of Nigeria and Tax Identification Number has been given. I currently have 10 acres of farmland that has been leased for two years. There is also a rented farm house, a motorcycle for mobility, some farm tools, a water tank and drum, a mechanical sprayer and knapsack sprayer and network of farm workers in the rural area.

Measurable success factors

Success factors in this project include good planning, setting realistic project milestones and judicious utilization of project funds to execute the milestones. Success of the project will therefore be measured based on the achievement of individual milestones to meet the set targets and objectives of the project.

Budget Plan for the Project Activities Milestones

Using the Central bank of Nigeria current exchange rate (N196.5 to a dollar), the $5000 (N982,500) seed fund will be utilised to achieve the milestones set below:

  • 5 acres of farmland will be leased with N50,000 ($254.45) in the first month of the project.
  • The leased farmland will be prepared (double ploughing, ridging or bedding etc.) also in the first month using a hired tractor and operator with N100,000 ($508.9).
  • A well will be dug as water source and pumping machine will be procured for the purpose of irrigation. This will also be achieved in the first month with N100,000 ($508.9).
  • More farm tools and farm inputs (seeds, pesticides, organic and inorganic fertilizer etc.) will be sourced also in the first month using N120,010 ($610.74) to compliment what is on the ground.
  • The nursery will be prepared immediately after the first ploughing within the first month with N20,000 ($101.78).
  • Cost of labour for nursery, transplanting, irrigation, weeding, staking, harvesting etc., throughout the 120 days project duration is N157,500 ($801.53).
  • Delivery of harvested crops to the market will be done immediately after harvest and it will take N175,000 ($890.59).
  • Logistics and operational expenses (fuel, transportation etc.) throughout the project are N260,990 ($1328.19).


The estimated target yield from the 5 acres of farmland after 120 days is 1000 30 kg local baskets of tomatoes (approximately 30 tons), currently sold on average at N3000 ($15.27) per basket in Lagos Nigeria. Therefore, expected revenue at the end of first cultivation is N3,000,000 ($15267.17) which will be reinvested for sustainability purposes.

The project is indeed viable, profitable and sustainable. It is also eco-friendly as the debris get disintegrated to nourish the soil.


Blogpost and picture submitted by Onyemeka Michael(Lagos, Nigeria) – onyemekamichael[at]

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as proposal #243 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

118 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #243: Tomato farm (Onyemeka Michael, Nigeria)”

    1. Great work Mr Onyemeka…just wondering what specie of tomatoes you are cultivating. Is it the western or Nothern Nigerian specie

    1. The harvest crops will be parked sold in groceries. Also since tomatoes are perishable crop I plan to sell bulk of it to tomato wholesalers and retailers.

  1. Good this country need people with positive thought like u in d agricultural cector may God grante u all ur desire.

    1. Mr Lucky thanks for you comment, Nigeria need diversification and that’s what am working on.

  2. I love this idea, because I love tomatoes. I look forward to made in Nigeria tomato pastes as well. This is truly innovating.

  3. Well done…all the best! I need a WordPress account to like. I don’t buy one yet…will see about setting it up. Eno

    1. Mr Lucky thanks for you comment, Nigeria need diversification and that’s what am working on.

  4. How much profit are you expecting from the harvest of the tomatoes, considering the amount of money u have put into its production? What about your storage facility?

    1. Alausa am currently working on processing tomatoes into other forms like paste and tomato juice.

      1. Processing tomatoes into pastes requires a separate attention and funds. How do u hope to begin that process after harvesting the tomatoes or, you plan to wait for a few years after production before u start processing them into pastes? I hope that it is not that u hope to set up a processing facility up from the N2, 000,000 profit that u projected in urban proposal. More so, how would you handle the situation if things don’t go the way u expect them to go? Tomato is a funny fruit and can disappoint farmers at any time if it doesn’t get the required attention and treatment.

    2. We have concluded market testing of tomatoes converted into paste and other forms. With that our harvested tomatoes will be converted to other forms. Fabricators of the necessarily machines have been contacted already.

      1. Alausa I understand you very much, that is why the processing is not included in my project plan because processing will require a separate fund outside of $5000. Even the projected #2,000,000 profit is not enough to commence processing. I prefer setting SMART goals rather than plan and not able to implement due to financial challenge.
        To fund the processing aspect we will need about $75,000 which can be realized from sales of harvested tomatoes in 2 years if conditions are favourable.

        On what to do if things don’t go the way plan. You are about tomatoes not able to thrive in unfavorable conditions. Haven witnessed this several times I have decided that our cultivation will be in stages to ensure that all the plant are not in the same stage. By this sectioning the impact of any unfavourable condition will not affect all the plant. Also our farm is sighted in good area not susceptible to erosion and there will be irrigation and drainage system to ensure that harsh weather or too much rain will have less impact on the crops. We also plan insuring our farm with Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Cooperation (NAIC). With these measures in place the aftermath of any disaster on us will be minimal.

    3. Our storage facility will be fabricated locally. A pro formal invoice has already been give to that effect and resources are currently be sought to commence.

  5. Nicely layed out plans, but how would you manage your harvest? What is your targeted market like, what are your mitigations, outside these, this is a fantastic idea and plan.

    1. My target market include tomato wholesalers, retailers, groceries, restaurants, hotels, eateries as well as the food vendors.
      Tomato is a perishable crop and distingration set in if not sold within five days. To prevent this we are trying new extended shelflife variety. We will also farm out our crop in phases to prevent the uniform ripening of all the crops at the same time. This will also mitigate the risk of unfavorable weather as too much heat or too rain affect the yield of tomatoes.
      Also we plan signing MOU with processing companies that make use of tomatoes as their raw materials pending the time we commence processing just as Dansa, a subsidiary of Dangote has done with tomato farms in the North.

    1. Mr Tobi this is just the beginning. We are working towards the diversification of the economy from crude oil.

  6. Nicely researched….succinctly written. However, consider taking out agricultural insurance from Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation against some “acts of God” and other occupational hazards associated with farming. Also, try to secure buyers if you haven’t done so, who have committed to buy from you, before you plant the first seed in the nursery. Keep going!

    1. Mr Emeka thanks for reminding of our discussion last November. Will surely insure with NAIC to mitigate against hazards and associated disaster.

    1. I plan to phase out the farm by so all our plants will not be uniform in growth stage. I also plan to insure with Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation.

  7. This is great. I crave your indulgence. Just has you have highlighted above on processing this perishable crop, this is very necessary so as to reduce importation and to encourage local use of our produce. AM organic food is always ready for your harvest just let us know. I will like you to think on branding the produce and its products.

    1. Thanks faith. My knowledge on branding will be helpful. Thanks for applying to be our customer.

  8. This is good project, with this many people will be employed and the fact that it is sustainable make sense alot because you dont have to wait for more cash injection to continue.

    1. Our business is self sustained after second growing season. By then the farm will have generated enough cash to continue operations and start implementing our cottage processing industry.

  9. Great innovations, so fantastic bcus d demand is higher than d supply even in my campus OAU we can do without tomato paste with d level of inflation d demand is still getting higher. Big ups to u man. Perfect growing business so far!!!!!!!

    1. Mr Turbo. Long time. The demand of tomatoes is always on the increase. But with more farmers and processing company their will be balance in the demand and supply. Also the waste experience will be reduced to a large extent through processing.

  10. This is very innovative. Please how are you going to go about the long shelf life you proposed, is this genetic kind of modification which is not welcomed in this part of the world.
    Also will your farm be able to feed the proposed processing factory?
    What differentiates you from other tomato farmers especially in the north.

    1. Mr Andrew this is a good question, as a botanist, there are other ways to achieve a required characters in breeding aside genetic engineering, carefully selection and crossing of plants of desired character can give you the desired result. Presently their are varieties already developed that have longer shelf life character, so we will be making use of this variety in combination with farming practices to give us the proposed long shelf life.

    2. By the we commence processing we need small farm holder that we sign MOU with then trained them on how to achieve the quality of tomatoes we need then supply them the variety we use. Their harvest we be sold to our factory at reasonable price to continue our processing because our farm alone cannot ensure continuous feeding of the processing factory.
      As for competition, we are introducing long shelf life fresh tomatoes that will stay up to 30 days compare to what is obtainable in the market that start to rot as from 3 days. So I believe we will be preferred over them.

      1. By the time we commence processing we will need small farm holder that we will sign MOU with, then train them on how, to achieve the quality of tomatoes we need then supply them the variety we use. Their harvest we be sold to our factory at reasonable price to continue our processing because our farm alone cannot ensure continuous feeding of the processing factory.
        As for competition, we are introducing long shelf life fresh tomatoes that will stay up to 30 days compare to what is obtainable in the market that start to rot as from 3 days. So I believe we will be preferred over them

  11. Go Mike, I trust you are capable of accomplishing this project. I wish you all the best.

    1. Bis sister, fellow entrepreneur and African emancipator. I continue to draw inspiration from you to accomplished this.

    1. Yes, apart from paste we want to process them into powdered forms which can added to foods directly.

    1. According to a research by Agricultural Development in Nigeria (ADENI), French embassy and National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison about 29% of urban dwellers make use of other forms of tomatoes. Coupled with primary and other secondary survey we are introducing other forms of tomatoes (dehydrated and powered forms) which have already passed market testing.
      To accomplished the process we currently need between $30,000-$50,000 for a cottage processing industry. But since fund is a major challenge faced by entrepreneurs we want to grow organically from farming then as resources are available we commence processing rather than highlight everything including the processing in this current project which can’t be achieved with $5000, so from the sales of fresh tomatoes we can raise funds needed for the processing aspect.

    1. Mr Blessing you highly appreciated. We also need people like you to by Nigeria mades.

  12. Weldone Sir Reg Emeka, this looks all sorted already, ofcos no biz widout risks and challenges, but i believe with God, our government utilizing great people like you, and Nigerians support in general, no doubt it will be a success. Nigeria seriously needs a great change now #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira. Enof of importation, checking all oda sectors and nt just crude oil seriously affecting us right now. I’m highly proud of your work brother. More grease to ur elbow. God Bless Nigeria… God Bless Africa

    1. Mr Dimeji thanks so much, Nigeria need to diversify the economy, they need give entrepreneurs opportunity and create enabling environment for us to thrive and then we Nigerians need to patronise Nigerian made goods and services by so our Nigeria naira we gain strength.

  13. Nice one Emeka,thank God for this vision . The only way to have a sustainable economy is through biodiversity. Great job broda

  14. this is impresive and good mindset but the question how do manage the fluntuating climatic factors as tomato do not withstand harsh environmental stress and also how do you attract consumers interest.

    1. We plan to install irrigation to supply needed water and drainage to remove excess water especially during high rainfall.
      Also we will phase out our farm in stages to make sure the plants are not all in same stage and to also control harvest.
      We will also insure our farm with NAIC.

      On customer interest, the beautiful thing about tomato is that there is a market for it because of the high demand. Introducing a long shelf life is a competitive advantage for us.

  15. impresive and viable project; how do u manage climatic and other enviromental factors of your proppsed location as tomato does not withstand stress like other crops

  16. Mr Dimeji thanks so much, Nigeria need to diversify the economy, they need give entrepreneurs opportunity and create enabling environment for us to thrive and then we Nigerians need to patronise Nigerian made goods and services by so our Nigeria naira we gain strength.

  17. Very good initiative. Best wishes. Just a suggestion. Tomatoes do great in relatively low rainfall areas.

  18. Good one Michael.
    Agriculture is definitely a sector Nigeria must look into and take more seriously.
    This is viable. All the best.

    1. Mr Segun you are very much correct. Agriculture can employ up to 70% of the youth population in Nigeria.

  19. Wow, this is very innovative. Keep up with the great job. Hope you are prepared on how to properly preserve your harvest as we all know tomato is a perishable crop? I wish you all the best in your project.

  20. Michael, it is because of people like you that i still have great hopes for Nigeria. I am currently going into agriculture, i will be going into catfish rearing and vegetable farming. I hope to gain some insights from you soon.

    1. Mr Ayo, my fellow entrepreneur I believe that we can restore hope of the creative youths of Nigeria with move this.
      We start small with big in mind.

    1. Thanks so much Ajayi. We are only trying to do what we know best to restore entrepreneurial mindset.

    1. Mr Eva it’s been a long time. I am drawing inspiration from our training and boot camp.

  21. This is commendable and inspiring to see a young graduate of Botany venturing into agriculture that is seen by most graduate’s as a dirty or layman job. I would advise you team up with more experience farmers around ur location to form a cooperative to benefit from the FG intervention funds for agrobusiness

    1. This is a nice suggestion from you mr saheed. Have long heard about government supporting cooperative farmer. I will have to seriously consider this suggestion because farmers need help in order to increase food security for the 170 million growing Nigeria population.

  22. You are an inspiration to our generation of entrepreneurs, I have plans to startup a greenhouse very soon, so I will be needing your professional advice very soon. Keep the fire burning.

  23. this is a very nice project. Am so happy that we still have youth in Nigeria in this age who have this kind of innovative mind. l pray God to see you through.

    1. Mr Audu we are unleashing our entrepreneurial potential to solve the two major issues in our Nation.

  24. Greater strides.
    Food is necessity. Tomato is definitely essential, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  25. Micheal has a very valuable business plan that requires support and funding. He can also mentor other young entrepreneurs to take up this kind of farming in other parts of Nigeria. This is the kind of sustainable change that we require. Well done Micheal.

  26. Micheal, are there other vegetables that do well with tomatoes? Do you have to mono-crop tomatoes or you can combine it with other vegetables to also increase your earnings?

  27. Nice work. Can’t you afford a small greenhouse with this budget. I feel this would give you a better quality of tomatoes year round?

    Best wishes.

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