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. Its 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 from 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 affecting tomato production.

  • Low yields from use of inferior recycled seed varieties
  • Income losses from 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 shifts between extreme dry and wet conditions.
  • Unfavorable tomato features for processing and export market such as color, shape and wall thickness

Luckily, 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 aster transplanting, yield potential in tonnes per hectare (t/ha) and the average fruit weight in grams.

Variety Maturit(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 Open 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 for each seed type.

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

Rio Grande

Looking the best tomato to make soup? The Rio-Grande variety is a soup making tomato in Kenya. Its has a longer shelf life and 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 regions such as Mwea and Ngurumani. Its other benefit it that its 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 tomato 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 do not require staking. Besides, its one of the most demanded tomato type 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 the tomato with highest shelf life to reduce your post harvest and transport losses? The Onyx F1 tomato variety has longest shelf life in Kenya, at 25 days. Its fruits skin are firm making its transport and handling by traders easier. As a determinate variety, you do not require 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 canning, making sauce, paste as well as solar drying in Kenya. It is an improved open pollinated determinate tomato variety that do not need any staking. Compared to other varieties, its fruits are deep red with few seeds, thick walls and dense flesh. Its these reasons which make it best choice for processing. Other top features for 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 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. Its hybrid tomato variety with good adaptability to drier areas.

Its also the fastest growing variety with its maturity at 65 days only. Besides, its 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 its 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 tomato growing, green house farming is capital intensive. The farmers key concern is recouping their investment on 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 if 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 truits 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 gibing 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 asTuta absoluta and problematic diseases such as bacterial wilt

Tylka F1

Looking for the tomato with least post harvest losses? The Tylka F1 is a hybrid tomato variety with an exceptional 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 upto 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 hybrid tomato variety that adapts well to a wide range of agroecological zones. It is indeterminate with longer harvest period, 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 varieties 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 the 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 limites trials around Nairobi and Kajiado. The cultivar has Indeterminate growth. It is beneficial with long harvesting period of up to 3 years under good agronomic management. The Chika cherry tomato fruites are round, red, sweet with a good flavour. Besides, its 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 has been evaluated at JKUAT for adoption in Kenya, It produces round, red, sweet, flavoured fruits. Its well Adapted to varying climates. Finally, Koko cherry tomato has an indeterminate growth with a long harvesting periods 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)

Buy Best Tomato Seeds Online


The post gives you a list of the best 13 tomato varieties to grow in Kenya. They include the cherry tomato, greenhouse varieties and other determinate types fit for open field cultivation. They include the Chiko, Kilele F1 and Anna F1 among others. Some are open pollinated while others are hybrid. You can easily choose the best one by comparing their maturity period, yield potential and their disease and pest tolerance.

Do you know any other tomato variety we have not listed, please comment below.

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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