Monday, April 10, 2006

Ethiopia Endowed with Climate Favorable for Cherry Tomato Cultivation

AND -- The Melkasa Agricultural Research Center (MARC) on its part said the cherry tomato variety under trial could yield more than 1,000 quintals per hectare.

Representative of the Israeli Company, Tomaisin, Ofer Kahane, told Ethiopian News Agency on Friday that the company is the only firm that discovered three varieties of tomato that could be prepared in the form of dry tomato.

Kahane said although the company attempted to multiply the varieties in West Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world so as to supply the produce to the European market, it has not found a climate as favorable for the varieties as in Ethiopia.

Trials jointly conducted by the company and MARC have proved that the variety could be cultivated in abundant quantity and very good quality around the Rift Valley area and the surroundings of Mekele in Tigray State, Kahane said.

He added that the company will begin partially supplying the product next year, and enter into the European market with full capacity after two years.

Kahane said the supply of the product to the European market would help the foreign currency earnings of the country to increase substantially.

Director of MARC, Dr. Fasil Reda said the trial production launched in November last year has confirmed that the variety could yield more than 1,000 quintals of tomato per hectare.

Dr. Fasil said the cherry tomato variety tried in Ethiopia is in high demand on the European market than that of the similar variety in Israel.

The annual market share of cherry tomato in Europe is around 150 million US Dollars. Dr. Fasil said.

The variety could easily be cultivated by household farmers and be preserved for more than a month without its taste and content being changed, while it could also be easily transported by air or land.

Dr. Fasil said the supply of the variety to market would help maintain the economic growth the nation registered over the past three years.

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