Tomato – The God Food for Nutrition and Human Health
A recent study conducted at Ohio State University in the US reported that the dietary carotenoids, that gives tomatoes their colour, will protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) light damage. With the number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer increases with each passing year, it’s a good news that the daily consumption of tomato may cut the chances of skin cancer.
This small, round, sweet, juicy, delicious red fruit is one of the largest consuming vegetables in the world, not only because of its culinary purpose but also due to its numerous health benefits and nutrition. Tomato for skin cancer was just the latest example for its infinite fitness blessings.
From the time immemorial, there exists a long love affair between man and tomato due to its capacity for better acclimatization to various environment. Today, it comes in a vast array of varieties differing in colour, size, shape and taste. Now tomato has emerged as one of the most desired vegetables in the world due to its unique taste and nutritional qualities. More than 100 new tomato varieties are being made available in the world market with each passing year.
The health benefits of tomatoes gave it the title “God food” and forms an integral part of cuisines all over the world. Tomato is also a good source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and copper. Organic compounds like lycopene also attribute to the health benefits. The criteria for selection of tomato varies with country and the culture. Asian markets for tomatoes are particular about lighter colours while in European markets, small shapes of tomatoes are preferred.
So how the “God food” dominate the seed market? A report by Market Intelligence, a market research firm, states, ‘The Tomato Seed Market revenue covers a whopping 829.8 Million USD of the 7.8 Billion USD revenue of Vegetable Seed Market’. The numerical figure clearly depicts the dominance of seed market by tomatoes.
Tomato is the most widely grown and consumed vegetable globally. China is the largest producer of tomatoes followed by India, United States, Turkey and Egypt. The food processing market occupies 30% of the destination market for tomato while 70% of it is consumed as fresh produce.
Nowadays, the main focus of leading seed companies all over the globe is to improve the yield, adaptability to various climatic conditions and developing varieties with disease and pest tolerance. High emphasis has been laid to developing disease resistance tomatoes because tomato is attacked by more than 200 diseases and pests. Some of the important diseases of tomatoes are bacterial wilt, Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV), Groundnut Bud Necrosis Virus (GBNV), etc. Breeders from companies are also working on developing flavours for the final taste of tomatoes. The growth of tomato seed is heavily credited to the use of hybrid seeds and usage of high-value experimental varieties in developed economies. Although the investment in this industry is high, the return on investment is dramatically encouraging farmers globally to adopt hybrid tomato seeds for its production.
Adoption of improved varieties and hybrids will surely drive the tomato global seed market. Companies like Monsanto, Groupe Limagrain, Syngenta are working with their best teams, aligned with international standards and practice. This helps them to achieve not only their business objectives but also helps create value to society that is demonstrated by their strong effort in the research field of tomato seed production. Their far-reaching vision may have serious benefits for the sustainable production of the nutritional and healthy vegetable- “The God food”, Tomato.