Which tomato variety is the best to grow in Kenya?

Collage of big and small red and yellow tomatoes of different kinds

Are you looking for the best tomato seeds to plant this season? In this post, we will give you a list of the 10 best tomato varieties in Kenya. The post has them in 3 categories: open-field varieties, greenhouse varieties, and cherry tomato varieties.

Tomato is s super profitable crop in Kenya for both farmers and traders. It is also one of the most demanded vegetables in grocery stores and supermarkets. However, tomato production in Kenya is diminishing over time, with reports indicating some traders having to rely on supplies from Tanzania. The major factor for this trend has been as a reason of poor seed selection. As this post outlines, better seed selection can help you get higher harvests and money.

Challenges Affecting Tomato Production in Kenya

Using improved seed varieties can have many advantages for you. In particular, KARLO among other partners has worked to solve some of the following challenges that affect tomato production.

  • Low yields from the use of inferior recycled seed varieties
  • Income losses from the prevalence of tomato diseases such as Tomato Yellow leaf curl virus, tomato mosaic virus, nematodes, verticillium, and fusarium wilt.
  • Post-harvest losses since tomato is a highly perishable fruit with a low shelf life.
  • Climate change and variability in weather conditions shift between extreme dry and wet conditions.
  • Unfavorable tomato features for the processing and export market such as color, shape, and wall thickness

Luckily, the use of improved hybrid tomato varieties can solve most if not all the mentioned challenges above. The list below is a summary of these varieties according to available seed varieties from Kenya seed companies. The table shows you their maturity period in days after transplanting, yield potential in tonnes per hectare (t/ha), and the average fruit weight in grams.

Variety Maturity (days)Yield (t/ha)Fruit weight (gms)
Rio Grande75-80 8474
Cal J70-757068
Roma VF80-858360
Kilele F1 75 74-86120-130
Raja F16530-35120-150
Anna F175185 
Tylka F17570-80 
Chonto F175300150-200
Bravo F1 240 
A list of the best tomato varieties in Kenya

Best Tomato Varieties for open-field farming

Ripe tomato fruits in a farm field
Examples of field tomato varieties in Kenya are Rio Grande, Cal J, Onyx, and Roma Vf (improved open pollinated) and Kilele F1 & Raja F1 (hybrid)

Are you wondering which is the best hybrid tomato variety to grow in open-field farming in Kenya? Below is a list of six determinate tomato varieties recently released. We summarize for you the key features of each seed type.

You may be interested: How profitable is open-field tomato farming in Kenya?

Rio Grande

Looking for the best tomato to make the best tomato soup? The Rio-Grande variety is a soup-making tomato in Kenya. It has a longer shelf life and is also classified as palatable. The Rio-Grande is a medium-yielding variety and it has a determinate growth habit. You can grow it in any open-field tomato farming region such as Mwea and Ngurumani. Its other benefit is it that is tolerant to verticillium and fusarium wilt diseases.

  • Yield potential; 84t/ha.
  • Maturity period; 75-80 days after transplanting
  • Fruits average weight;74 gm.

Cal J

Looking to grow tomatoes in an area with unreliable or unpredictable rainfall? Cal J is a determinate tomato variety that foes well in both wet and dry climates such as Kajiado, Elgeyo Marakwet, Garissa, Mandera, and Siaya counties. This tomato type is moderate-yielding and does not require staking. Besides, it is one of the most demanded tomato types by food processors and canned tomato buyers. Other Cal J tomato features are;

  • Yield potential; 70t/ha
  • Maturity period; 70-75 days after transplanting
  • Fruits average weight; 68gm
  • Blocky oval to round in shape
  • shelf life; up to 21 days


Looking for the tomato with the highest shelf life to reduce your post-harvest and transport losses? The Onyx F1 tomato variety has the longest shelf life in Kenya, at 25 days. Its fruit skin is firm making its transport and handling by traders easier. As a determinate variety, you are not required to stake it. Other top features of the Onyx open-pollinated tomato include;

  • Yield potential; 45 t/ha
  • Maturity period; 70 days after transplanting
  • Fruits average weight; 105 gm
  • shelf life; up to 25 days

Roma VF

Do you want to grow the best tomato for processing purposes? The Roma Vf is the most preferred tomato variety for canned tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste as well as solar drying in Kenya. It is an improved open-pollinated determinate tomato variety that does not need any staking. Compared to other varieties, its fruits are deep red with few tomato seeds, thick walls, and dense flesh. It is these reasons that make it the best choice for processing. Other top features of the Roma VF tomato variety are;

  • Yield potential; 83 t/ha
  • Maturity period; 80-85 days after transplanting
  • Fruits average weight; 60 gm
  • pear-shaped and firm fruits
  • shelf life; up to 25 days

Kilele F1

Are you growing tomatoes for profit? The tomato variety that can bring you the highest yields is Kilele F1. It can give you a harvesting period of 10 weeks, which is the longest in Kenya. Kilele F1 is also the cheapest and easiest tomato variety to grow in Kenya. It requires little use of herbicides for it is the hybrid tomato seed variety with tolerance to Tomato Yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), tomato mosaic virus (TMV), nematodes, verticillium, and fusarium wilt. The variety exhibits semi-determinate growth and may need staking for support. Its fruites are elongated and firm giving it a longer shelf life.

Raja F1

Looking for the best tomato variety in dry areas? Tomato farming in dry areas is risky due to heat and water stress. Luckily for you, the Raja F1 is a drought-resistant tomato seed. The hybrid tomato variety with good adaptability to drier areas.

It is also the fastest-growing variety with its maturity at 65 days only. Besides, it a semi-determinate in growth with a harvesting period of 10 weeks. Its fruits are deep red, ovular, and firm with long shelf life and easy to transport. Besides it is tolerant to Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), Tomato Mosaic virus (TMV), Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt, Bacterial wilt, and nematodes

  • Yield potential; 30-35 t/acre
  • Maturity period; 65 days after transplanting
  • Fruits average weight; 6120-150 gm
  • very firm, deep red, ovular fruits
  • shelf life; up to 21 days

What is the best tomato to grow in a greenhouse?

Ripe red tomato fruits on a tomato plant growing in a greenhouse.
Some hybrid seed varieties for tomato greenhouse farming in Kenya are Anna F1, Tylka F1, Chonto F1 & Bravo F1

Unlike open-field, growing tomatoes in a greenhouse is capital-intensive. You will need to install tomato cages, drip irrigation kits, and transport crares. The farmer’s key concern is recouping their investment in a shorter period. As such one needs a better-performing tomato variety. The list below highlights the best indeterminate, hybrid tomato varieties such as Anna F1. Their features are as highlighted.

Read Next; How profitable is greenhouse tomato farming in Kenya?

Anna F1

Anna F1 is a hybrid variety that performs very well in tomato greenhouse farming in Kenya. It has a high yield potential of 185t/ha. In some tomato growing areas, you can plant it in the open field. It produces fruits that are deep-red, oval-shaped, and firm. In terms of growth, Anna F1 is an early maturing variety taking 75 days only to start harvesting from transplanting.

It is very high yielding giving you 185t/ha. Finally, the Anna F1 tomato is tolerant to Alternaria, stem canker, Verticillium, fusarium wilt, and nematodes. On the downside, it is not tolerant to emerging pests such as Tuta absoluta and problematic diseases such as bacterial wilt

Tylka F1

Looking for the tomato with the least post-harvest losses? The Tylka F1 is a hybrid tomato variety with an exceptionally long shelf life in Kenya of up to 28 days. It is ideal for both greenhouse and outdoor cultivation. The cultivar is resistant to Tomato leaf curl virus, Tomato mosaic virus, and Grey spot

  • Maturity period; 75 days.
  • Harvesting period of 4-6 months.
  • yield potential: 120t/240m2 (8x30m greenhouse)

Chonto F1

Chonto F1 is a hybrid premium tomato variety in Kenya. A single fruit can weigh 150-200g under proper crop management. The variety is the most suited for greenhouse cultivation. It is an early maturing tomato variety since you can start harvesting at 75 days after transplanting. Besides, it has one of the longest harvest periods of up to 8 months. Its yield potential is high and can give you up to 300t/ha. Some of Chonto F1 features are summarized below.

  • Maturity period; 75 days.
  • Harvesting period of 8 months.
  • yield potential: 300t/ha

Bravo F1

Bravo F1 is a hybrid tomato variety that adapts well to a wide range of agroecological zones. It is indeterminate with a longer harvest period, and early maturing with a yield potential of 240t/ha. It is resistant/ tolerant to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV), Fusarium Wilt, Verticillium Wilt, Grey Leaf Spot, and Nematodes

Which are the best cherry tomato seeds in Kenya

A brancg of cherry tomatoes growing in a greenhouse
Cherry tomatoes in Kenya are Chika and Koko

Looking for the highly-priced tomato types? Are you looking for the best tomato variety to eat raw without cooking? Cherry tomatoes such as the Chika and KoKo are eaten raw without cooking. Given their growing demand in Kenya, they are highly profitable for tomato sellers. They are nutritious with antioxidant properties which would be beneficial especially to health-challenged groups. If you want to diversify your tomato farming, here are the 2 cherry varieties to consider.


This is a high-yielding and high-quality Cherry tomato variety in Kenya. The cultivar introduced from Japan has been evaluated at JKUAT with limited trials around Nairobi and Kajiado. The cultivar has Indeterminate growth. It is beneficial with a long harvesting period of up to 3 years under good agronomic management. The Chika cherry tomato fruits are round, red, and sweet with a good flavor. Besides, it is well adaptable to various conditions. Other top features of the Chika are:

  • 75 days to maturity (start of harvesting),
  • Disease resistant.
  • Yield potential: 2.5 kg/ plant per year (1.15ton /240m2 greenhouse)
  • Harvested 3 days per week


Koko is a high-yielding and high-quality cherry tomato variety you can grow in Kenya. The cultivar is from Japan and has been evaluated at JKUAT for adoption in Kenya, It produces round, red, sweet, flavored fruits. It’s well Adapted to varying climates. Finally, the Koko cherry tomato has an indeterminate growth with a long harvesting period of up to 3 years. Its other features include;

  • 75 days to mature (start of harvesting),
  • yield potential of 2.5kg of fruit/plant per year (1.15ton/240m2 greenhouse)


Where can I buy the best tomato seeds and seedlings in Kenya?

You can get quality and clean tomato seeds from credible online shops such Tropika, Agroduka, Kenya Seed Company Limited, Simlaw Seeds and ABI Organic Agriculture Ltd. Click on the links below to order the Rio Grande Tomato seeds and Cal J Tomato Seeds online.  You can also consider certified vegetable seed propagators and agrovet businesses near you.

Is Tree Tomato a type of tomato?

No! Cyphomandra betacea, also known as tamarillo or tree tomato, is a tropical fruit that is native to the Andean region of South America. It has large, heart-shaped, hairy leaves and produces oval-shaped fruit that can be red, yellow, or purple. The fruit is highly nutritious and has been found to have neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory health benefits.

Are there other Tomato Varieties I Should Know?

Blue tomatoes are a unique variety of Italian tomatoes that have blue and purple colors. They are very common in the Netherlands and Norway. The best blue tomato seeds are Indigo Rose, Blue Beauty, Blue Gold, and Blue Cherry. The varieties have a slightly acidic flavor and can provide extra protection against pests and diseases.

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  • I gonna try Raja type as mentioned hope does good at dry place

    09 June - 2023 at 03:01 PM
    john alulu Reply
  • How much is the price chonto f1?

    21 June - 2023 at 01:59 PM
    David Opondo Ahenda Reply
    • How much is the price chonto f1?

      21 June - 2023 at 02:02 PM
      David Opondo Ahenda Reply
  • I like the varieties

    05 July - 2023 at 02:12 PM
    Vincent Reply
    • Thank you, which one did you try?

      24 July - 2023 at 07:29 PM
  • Farmers we can say thanks for giving us information about the seeds I like tylka

    10 July - 2023 at 02:25 PM
    J tanui Reply
  • Chonto F1 inaweza Fanya pia kwa field

    11 July - 2023 at 10:35 AM
    Sosten kipsang Reply
    • While it would be a good trial, why risk a whole season? There are already numerous tomato seed varieties available in Kenya that are fit for open field cultivation.

      24 July - 2023 at 07:14 PM
  • Thanks for information

    12 September - 2023 at 03:34 PM
    Kelvin miroro Reply
  • Where do I get kilele F1 tomatoes

    20 October - 2023 at 12:41 PM
    DANIEL SOI Reply
    • Consider reaching out to local agrovets first. they stock quality seeds. other options are online marketplaces and seed company websites.

      16 November - 2023 at 11:37 AM
  • Where do I buy raja F1 tomatoes

    20 October - 2023 at 01:15 PM
    DANIEL SOI Reply
    • Consider reaching out to local agrovets first. they stock quality seeds. other options are online marketplaces and seed company websites.

      16 November - 2023 at 11:36 AM