Tomato is an important vegetable in Eritrea, grown across the entire country. Yields in Eritrea are comparatively low, due to agronomic, institutional and market constraints. We carried out a survey throughout the country based on a participatory rural appraisal, discussion groups and interviews with staff members of the Ministry of Agriculture. Results showed that farmers preferred varieties with a prolonged harvesting period and a long storage life unless other varieties are better yielding and can immediately be marketed. However, their knowledge on varieties is limited while maintaining their own seeds. Seedlings are established in nurseries and subsequently transplanted once they have reached a height of 10 to 15 cm. Spacing, staking, pruning and irrigation are important aspects of proper crop management. Flower abortion is common in some areas and the crop is affected by several diseases and pests. The harvesting takes place over a prolonged period and timing of harvest of individual fruits is based on skin colour. There are significant price differences based on size grade. Seasonality of the crop causes problems with marketing and price fluctuation. It is recommended to improve the farmer’s knowledge on variety characteristics, to improve the seed systems and train the farmers in improved crop management.
Key words: Eritrea, tomato, seed systems, variety, cultural practice, pests, diseases, physiological disorders, processing, marketing.
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