Tomato is a juicy fruit used as a vegetable. Its scientific name is ‘Solanum lycopersicum’ and belongs to the family ‘Solanaceae’. Tomato is considered the most used and popular vegetable in the world.
It is mostly used to prepare sauces, stews and soups and added to sandwiches, various pastas, vegetable and meat dishes. It is also eaten raw and used to garnish various food items. In addition, Tomatoes are purported to have various medicinal properties to fight cancer, maintain blood pressure, control diabetes and prevent heart diseases.
Tomato is supposed to have originated from South America, particularly in Peru and Ecuador. It was first domesticated and consumed by Aztec tribals as early as 700 AD. Tomato was introduced by the Spanish conquerors in the 15th century to Europe where it was used at first as decorative plants. Excessive use of tomatoes is supposed to be unhealthy due to the presence of poisonous components like solanine which can cause swelling and pain in the joints and other health issues. However, at present tomato is popular and used throughout the world.
Tomatoes can be grown in almost all types of soils with sufficient drainage and fertility. The plants normally grow 5-8 feet in height and take 2-3 months from planting to start producing the fruits.
The flooding or furrow method is the common and effective way for tomato cultivation which can be best done in the winter and summer seasons. An average temperature of 21-23 degrees celsius is considered ideal for the plants that cannot grow well in severe frost conditions.
There are nearly 10,000 varieties of tomato with different colours in the world and some of the common varieties are Campari, Beefsteak, heirloom, Cherry, Pear, Roma, Grape, Plum, Tomberries, Oxheart, etc and they contain Vitamins C, K, folate and potassium.
China is the largest producer of tomatoes in the world, followed by India, Pakistan and Turkey. China and India are also the largest consumers of tomatoes. The top exporter is Mexico followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Morocco and Canada, while the US imports the most amount of tomato followed by Germany, France, the UK, Russia and the Netherlands.
In India, Andhra Pradesh is the top producer of tomatoes, followed by Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana and Haryana.
Some of the Main trading markets of tomato in India:
Andhra Pradesh(Chittoor, Kurnool, Prakasam, Rangareddy)
Karnataka(Kolar, Mysore, Davangere, Shimoga)
Madhya Pradesh(Indore, Dhar, Rajgarh, Khandwa)
Gujarat(Junagadh, Kutch, Rajkot, Ahmedabad)
Names of tomato in different Indian languages: