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Tomato

The tomato plant is native to South America (Peru and Ecuador) and was first domesticated in Mexico. It is one of the world’s major fresh and processed fruits. Tomato was introduced to cultivation in the Middle East around the end of the 18th century. The crop is now by far the largest vegetable crop in Egypt. In 2008 the country ranked 5th in the world with 9.2 MT of tomatoes produced.

Taxonomy:
Family:
Solanaceae
Genus:
Solanum
Species:
S. lycopersicum
Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
Cultivation Areas:
Saudi Arabia produces about 478 thousand tons of tomatoes per year (2008), while the global output in the range of 250 million tons annually. China is the most important source of global production, then United States and Turkey. The average per capita consumption of fresh tomatoes and processed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is 31 kilos per year (Statistics 2007).
Main Varieties:
Many different varieties are available in the market.
Marketing Information and Uses:
Use:
fresh, manufactured, dry, canned or as juice, tomato is  a very important source of vitamins and minerals.
Markets:
The cultivation area of tomato in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is around 14.8 thousand hectare (according to 2008 Government statistics). In aream the tomato is considered as the biggest vegetable crop grown in green houses in the Kingdom.
Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
Soil Type:
Tomato tolerates a wide range of soil texture, tomato needs 8- 10 daylight  hours per day.
Temperatures:
Tomatoes need a moderate temperature during the day (21 – 28 C) for optimal growth and lower during the night (5 – 20 C). The relative humidity it should not be high.
Water Requirements:
The quantity of irrigation depends on temperature and soil type, age of plant and stage of growth. Tomatoes tolerate salinity. Levels under 2.5 EC salinity give good quality but the quality reduces when salinity rises above 2.5 EC.
Nutrition Requirements:
Soil should be subject to soil analysis for nutrient analysis.
Harvesting Period:
Tomato planting takes place between September and the end of April in two cycles. In the first (winter cycle) planting takes place from September – October; in the second (spring cycle) planting takes place from January.
Harvesting Methods:
Hand picking

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