Authors: Stephanus Malherbe & Diana Marais

Keyword: agricultural productivity, food security, South Africa


Agenda 2063: A1

A clear tomato yield gap exists in Southern Africa. Understanding the economic crop production factors is a necessary prelude to any discussion of ecological sustainability. The objective of this study was to evaluate the economic factors that influence the sustainability of open field tomato production. We compared detailed tomato production costs from six international studies to data from the largest commercial tomato producer in South Africa. The Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) was used to demonstrate the interactions between economic and agro-ecological constraints. Economic pressures are forcing tomato producers to intensify production, which underscores the need for the continued development of ecologically sustainable tomato production systems. The findings of this study will benefit policy development in support of sustainable food security in the rural areas of Southern Africa and beyond.