Tomato market segments in Western and Eastern Africa

  • From
    CGIAR Initiative on Market Intelligence
  • Published on
    27.06.24

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Photo: Participants discussing market segments for tomatoes in Benin 

Mwasilwa Ambali, Mathieu Ayenan, Assaf Eybishitz

Tomatoes are an important cash crop for thousands of farmers in Western and Eastern Africa. Since 1992, the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) has supported seed companies and national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) with improved breeding lines and varieties of tomatoes. To better guide discussions on investment priorities in tomato breeding and seed system development, reliable evidence on the requirements of farmers, processors, and consumers for identified and prioritized tomato market segments is essential. A market segment is a group of growers with common variety needs, driven by processor and consumer requirements (what) combined with a set of grower requirements based on where and how the crop is produced.

In April 2023, WorldVeg, in collaboration with the CGIAR Initiative on Market Intelligence, started efforts to incorporate tomato and pepper into the Seed Product Market Segment (SPSM) Database hosted in the Global Market Intelligence Platform (GloMIP). As part of that effort, a multidisciplinary WorldVeg team identified several segments for tomato in Western and Eastern Africa and validated their findings during two regional workshops with stakeholders from private and public sectors in Benin and Tanzania. These validation workshops served as essential platforms for knowledge exchange and collaboration, ultimately facilitating the work of breeders and enhancing agricultural practices in Western and Eastern Africa.

On March 14 and 15, the first validation workshop was held in Cotonou, Benin. More than 30 participants from seven Western African countries, representing both the private and research sectors, attended the event. During the workshop, the Market Intelligence team provided theoretical foundations for market segmentation, while the WorldVeg team presented their findings on different segmentation methods. The workshop provided important information on the predominance of fresh market, oblong, open-pollinated, determinate tomato varieties adapted for cultivation in open fields in lowlands. As opposed to other regions in Western Africa, there was no need to include highlands as a growing environment for tomato cultivation. This suggests that a similar disease package in tomato varieties for adaptation to lowlands is required across the region since this is often altitude dependent. Participants also raised the need to include tolerance to salinity as a trait to improve in the WorldVeg tomato breeding program.

Tomatoes segmentation validation workshop, Cotonou, Benin, 15 March, 2024

Following the Cotonou workshop, a similar validation workshop was conducted in Arusha, Tanzania, on March 20 –21. The Arusha workshop had more than 30 participants from six Eastern African countries. One conclusion reached at the Arusha workshop was that tomato is predominantly grown in the highlands and market segments for lowland agroecologies have low potential in Eastern Africa. Another highlighted the need to breed for resistance to tolerance/resistance to important pests and diseases such as tomato spotted wilt virus and Tuta absoluta. WorldVeg has already developed a tomato spotted wilt virus resistant breeding line, providing valuable guidance for breeders and agricultural practitioners in the region. The strict distinction between Western Africa (lowlands) and Eastern Africa (highlands) will enable sector players to position varieties specially adapted for these regions and avoid the risk of placing the wrong ones in these sectors.

In summary, through the two workshops we validated 16 tomato segments in Eastern and Western Africa. The updated market segmentation will soon be accessible in the SPMD Database hosted in GloMIP. The validation workshops also helped gather information by collecting data on crop area, value, and volume per segment. Future discussions will focus on how to harmonize the design of new target product profiles (TPPs), delineating the optimal product for the newly identified market segments.

Table 1: Fresh tomato market segments for Western and Eastern Africa

Subregion Market Segment
Western Africa Tomatoes, N, WAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Lowlands, Determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, N, WAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Lowlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, N, WAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Lowlands, Determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, N, WAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Lowlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, Y, WAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Lowlands, Determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, Y, WAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Lowlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, Y, WAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Lowlands, Determinate, NA
Western Africa Tomatoes, Y, WAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Lowlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, N, EAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Highlands, Determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, N, EAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Highlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, N, EAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Highlands, Determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, N, EAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Highlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, Y, EAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Highlands, Determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, Y, EAF, Fresh deep globe, Deep red, Highlands, Semi-determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, Y, EAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Highlands, Determinate, NA
Eastern Africa Tomatoes, Y, EAF, Fresh oblong, Deep red, Highlands, Semi-determinate, NA

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